Published: 10/08/2009 00:00 - Updated: 28/08/2009 10:36

Emanuel out with broken toe

Written byMATCH PREVIEW: LUTON V MANSFIELD TOWN

Luton Town's injury has increased ahead of the visit of Mansfield Town tomorrow with the news that defender Lewis Emanuel has broken a toe in his left foot and could be out for up to three months.

Lewis EmanuelThe left-footer was substituted in the season opener at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday but the news comes as a blow to club and injury-stricken player after he missed a large part of last season with a ruptured medial ligament.

He played in 17 league games despite fears his injury would keep him out all season and made it back in time to play in the Hatters' 3-2 Johnstone's Paint Trophy final win in May.

The Bradford-born defender had been courted by League clubs in the summer and turned down a deal to move to Grimsby Town to help the Hatters try and win promotion from the Blue Square Premier.

Manager Mick Harford said: "I feel sorry for Lewis. He's had his injury problems last year and when he wasn't in the team he was a big miss.

"But we've put this squad together to deal with these injuries and we believe that the squad we've got can get through it and go on and win promotion."

Emanuel joins Liam Hatch, Ryan Charles and Ed Asafu-Adjaye on the treatment table. Asa Hall is expected to be available for Town's first home game of the season tomorrow against Mansfield Town.

It is still unclear if defender Shane Blackett's red card, picked up against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, will be overturned as Luton consider an appeal.

If the former Peterborough United man's sending off stands it could leave Luton short at the back as central defender Alan White sits out the visit of the Stags through suspension, as does captain Kevin Nicholls.

Mansfield beat Crawley Town 4-0 at the weekend and Harford expects them to be a tough prospect, and a side challenging his own at the top end of the table.

"Mansfield are a very big and strong outfit," Harford said. "They're very well organised, well drilled and tenacious.

"They have big strikers up-front who between them scored three of their four goals on Saturday.

"From what I've heard they're a team that could be up there at the end of the season but we're confident.

"If we can win on Tuesday and win our home match against Gateshead on Saturday we'll have seven points from our first three games and, knowing that we should have won Saturday at Wimbledon, we'll be near the top of the table."

After seeing three points turned into one on Saturday against Wimbledon, despite a first half of complete dominance, Harford said the game taught his men a lesson.

He said: "I've said to the players we've got to be more ruthless. When we are on top we've got to take our chances.

"It was always going to be difficult going down there on the first game of the season but if we draw our away games and win our home games we'll get promoted.

"Hopefully at the end of the season it will prove to be a good result."
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