Published: 20/06/2012 07:01 - Updated: 20/06/2012 11:31

Buckle calls for change at Luton


Paul Buckle
Paul Buckle

Luton Town manager Paul Buckle has admitted that change is needed at Luton Town after the failures of the last three seasons.

There were big developments at Kenilworth Road yesterday as the Hatters announced that they would not be offering 23-year-old striker Amari Morgan-Smith a new contract, hours after captain George Pilkington and midfielder Godfrey Poku both joined Mansfield Town.

In a statement on the front man, Buckle said: “Since I’ve been at the club it’s been unfortunate that I haven’t seen enough game time of Amari.

"It is with regret that I have decided not to offer him a new deal but I wish him all the best and thank him for his efforts during his time with us.”

Poku snubbed a new deal last week, with Mansfield touted to be his next club, but on the move made by last season’s captain to join him, Buckle said: “The first I heard of it was on the Mansfield site.

"The truth is we offered George a deal to his agent and he’s signed for Mansfield. It’s the player’s prerogative. 

“George called me and told me it was one of the hardest decisions he's had to make and I really respect and appreciate that. He's a true pro and a real gent.

"I’d like to thank George for his contribution and efforts and wish him well at his new club.”

It means that nine of Luton’s 14 out-of-contract players will now not be at the club when the squad reports back for pre-season training on July 2.

It leaves the futures of Jake Howells, Alex Lawless, Lewis Kidd and Dan Walker still to be decided, while 19-year-old defender Alex Lacey penned a two-year deal on Thursday.

Speaking last week about departing players, Buckle explained that he was not concerned about anyone leaving because he only wants men with a desire to be at Luton.

“We’ve underachieved,” he added, “Let’s get it right and be crystal clear.  There is going to be change but change is needed, massively.

“We were seventh when I came in and struggling. That’s still fresh in my mind.

“There is going to be enough change but I wouldn’t say it will be an overhaul.

“There’s an awful lot for me to consider at the moment but I want to feel that all this hard work now will be well worth it come pre-season when I can have everyone in the building that I can trust.”

This weekend also saw Buckle make his first two signings, bringing in former Stevenage captain Ronnie Henry and experienced Gillingham midfielder Danny Spiller.

On his transfer policy, the manager said: “I’ve got my own ideas on how we should be as a club, how we should do our business and I’m not afraid to say that.

“I’m trying to do my damnedest to bring players into the club that are not failures.

“I’m not going to mince my words there.

“Unfortunately we had quite a few players last season not playing and I want to get away from that.”

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