Hatters captain Ronnie Henry admitted it was a real struggle to prepare for the FA Cup tie with Dorchester Town at the weekend after the shock death of his close friend Mitchell Cole, writes Mike Simmonds and Mark Wood.
The duo were at Stevenage together between 2007-2010 and had spoken only recently, so news that Cole had sadly died on Saturday morning came completely out of the blue for the Town defender.
He said: “I was close to Mitchell, so it was hard for me to go out there and play, but the gaffer spoke to me before the game to see if I was right.
“I told him I was right, I’ve got a a job to do and I went out there and did the job and luckily we got the 2-1 victory.
“I’ve got great memories of Mitchell and it was hard to get up for the game because of the sad news of his death did hit me hard but I had to get on my with job as I had work to do, now I can think about him.
“He was a very good mate of mine and I spoke to him a few days ago. Just to hear the news was unbelievable and he’ll be missed greatly.”
Manager Paul Buckle confirmed playing the defender was a concern and he believed that rejigged preparations had helped his skipper.
He added: “Ronnie knew Mitchell very well. It was sad enough for us that knew Mitchell through football, let alone his friends or family.
“It’s shocking news. Our thoughts, myself, the staff and the football club’s are with his family.
“Ronnie took it badly, he was upset before the game, but once he got out in the fresh air, because we done some stuff on the pitch, and changed our preparations on Saturday at home.
“We were in early and went out on to the field to do some preparation. I think Ronnie felt better for being outside actually and not sitting there.
“The best place for him was to be outside doing something active so that was the route we took. He was certainly upset.
“That’s one thing about football, it’s a place where you can go out, and not switch off, that’s the wrong thing, but if you’ve got something on your mind the best thing for Ronnie Henry is to be on a football field, it’s what he loves doing.
“It would probably have been what his good friend wanted him to do anyway.”
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