McAllister’s dreaming of a Wembley winner
TARGET man Craig McAllister has found himself dreaming of scoring the Wembley winner at Sunday’s play-off final against York, writes Mark Wood.
The on-loan Newport striker has been limited to a bit part role since joining the club but would love to go down in Hatters history.
He said: “It’s funny, the more and more I talk about the game on Sunday it just crossed my mind every time.
“It would be amazing, I would love to help the club go up and if I could score the winning goal it would go down in the history of the club.
“Because they’ve been so long out of the League and it’s so important to get back up in the League would be amazing.”
On what kind of goal it would be, the 31-year-old said: “It’s got to be a header hasn’t it! Any goal, I’m not too sure anybody is really bothered how it goes in, as long as it goes in and we win.”
The striker has one goal in 16 appearances for the Hatters and he, like all Town’s stars, is desperate to play in the final.
He said: “When you know there’s an opportunity to play at Wembley you are desperate to do well and play.
“To be honest the lads have been exceptional over the last couple of months and it’s going to be difficult to get in the starting XI.
“I come in every day to train and give my all and whether I start or not I will give everything.
“I won’t sulk about not playing, and when the manager needs me I will be ready.
“I would obviously like to play more, when the lads are doing what they are, they are scoring they are playing well, it’s going to be difficult.
“I’m a different kind of option to what Fleets and Andre are and Crowy and Azza and Amari as well.
“I’m probably the only target man as such at the club and offer something different. Everyone has their different abilities here and I know what my strengths are.
“The manager knows as well. He will pick the right team on the day that he will think will get the right result.”
McAllister played at the old Wembley for Eastleigh and said: “I only ever played there once and that was at the old Wembley back in 2000-01.
“That was in a Carlsberg Cup final. We played the semi-final at Anfield and the final at Wembley and lost, I can’t remember who it was against.
“It was an amazing occasion to be there because a lot of greats had played on that pitch.
“That being knocked down and the new one, that was a nice thing to have in my career. I lost so I will be wanting to win this time.
“I’ve been to the new Wembley once and it’s going to be some kind of special occasion.”
Parent club Newport lost 2-0 to York in the FA Trophy final on Saturday, but McAllister revealed he hadn’t heard anything from his former team-mates.
He said: “I’m sure I would have heard a little bit more if they’d won. I’m sure they are disappointed with the result.
“I’ve spoken to one of the previous Newport players who was there earlier in the season.
“He went to the game and he was a bit surprised at how disappointed he was at how Newport played.
“On the other hand he turned around and said York were quite a good side.
“I started the early rounds of the competition at Newport and you kind of look on and think you can nearly get on to Wembley.
“And it got to the stage where it was the semi-final and people were saying to me you could be playing at Wembley the next round.
“It obviously crosses your mind, but I was totally focused on being at Luton Town and playing for Luton Town.
“And now, looking at it, it’s the play-off final at Wembley so it’s not really bothered me to be honest.
“It means a lot to the players, to the fans and to the club. It’s massive.
“The Trophy’s a great competition to win, but you know everyone is fighting week in, week out in this league to get out of it.
“We are one game away from that so the importance of that is massive and we know what’s expected and what the reward is if we win.
“When we do do it. It’s going to be a huge relief off of everyone’s shoulders. The last two, three weeks have been difficult.
“We are all gutted we didn’t go up automatically, but the table hasn’t lied and Fleetwood deserved what they got.
“I think we’ve had a few free lives to be honest. We’ve had a few disappointing results that have pushed us close to being out of the play-offs and then we were pushed out.
“And then it was oh we’ve got a few games, we will definitely get in. It doesn’t quite work like that and we had to work extremely hard when we were outside of the play-offs.
“It would have been hugely disappointing if we hadn’t got in them.
“Now it’s our chance to party and go on and have that enjoyment of the day and I’m sure what we’ll get what we deserve on that day.”
McAllister, who won the Conference with Crawley Town last season, is also relishing playing in front of 30,000 fervent Luton fans.
The striker had struggled for goals for much of the season, but his maiden strike at the death against Ebbsfleet saw the Town faithful take him to their hearts with cries of ‘he scores when he wants’.
He added: “I wasn’t too amused to start with then I did find it quite amusing.
“It’s better being sung about than not. The fans have been great of late and I appreciate every minute they sing and are behind me and hopefully they will be behind me for one last game and I can repay them with a goal.
“The support here is unbelievable. You only have to see how many tickets we’ve sold here already.
“I played at Manchester United last year. We took 10,000 and the rest were Manchester United fans.
“So for 30,000-plus is frightening really, it just shows you how many people are behind this club.”
To read a special eight page play-off preview, see the Luton News/Dunstable Gazette on sale this Wednesday, while for all the latest Luton Town FC news, reports, stats, player profiles, live match updates, prediction table and a complete fixture list, visit our Hatters Microsite.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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