Ainge is loving his new life at Luton

Defender Simon Ainge believes he is starting to reap the rewards of his return to professional football, writes Mike Simmonds.

The 24-year-old, who began his career at Bradford City, was working in recruitment prior to joining Town, so is relishing training on a daily basis.

He said: “I’m really enjoying it as every day we’re working on things that I’ve not been working on when you’ve got a full-time job.

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“Then, it’s a case of just meeting together and maybe doing a bit of keep ball, but here I’m working on my weaknesses and trying to learn as much as I can.

“The gaffer has been brilliant with me, the lads too. I’m really enjoying it and just want to finish with a successful season.”

Although Ainge’s future is not yet secure at Kenilworth Road, he has made no bones about the fact he wants to turn his temporary stay into a permanent one.

The centre-half continued: “I always made it clear, even when at Guiseley that I’d love an opportunity to go full-time again.

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“I would love to stay, but it’s down to the gaffer and what he says.”

Ainge certainly hasn’t looked out of place, starting all three matches since his arrival.

He feels he has acquitted himself well despite having to get used to a few differences between the Conference and a level below.

He said: “I think the fitness is the biggest thing I’ve noticed, which I feel like I’m getting with the full time training.

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“Also the mistakes you make at this level, you’re likely to get punished as there really is no room for error.

“The manager has been great though, giving me confidence and told me when I came in he wanted me to do the nasty things like win the headers and talk at the back.

“I’d like to think I’ve come in and done that.

“I think I’m going to get better with coaching, full-time training and getting fitter.

“I’m trying to learn as much as I can and enjoy it while I’m here.”

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Ainge was off the mark for his new club during the 3-2 defeat against Braintree Town on Tuesday night, leaping highest to head home a corner.

He made a name for himself as a goalscoring centre-half with the Lions, but didn’t really have any cause for celebration at the final whistle.

He said: “It was good to get a goal, it’s something I think I can add to the team.

“It’s disappointing we haven’t got the three points.

“The goal means nothing, if we’d have got the three points it would have been nice but it’s irrelevant really.”

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The one major annoyance for Ainge is that Town are yet to keep a clean sheet in his spell at the club, as they conceded another three times against the Iron.

He said: “It’s massively frustrating. At Guiseley we had a really good defensive record and that’s something I’ve wanted to bring here.

“We’re working as hard as we can in training to put it right and hopefully we will do.

“Conceding three goals is not good enough and we need to go better on Saturday.”

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This weekend’s opponents Nuneaton are well known to Ainge after he came up against them in Blue Square Bet North last season and he has his own personal agenda.

He added: “We got beaten by Nuneaton in the play-off semi-final in the last minute of extra-time last year, so I’m looking forward to getting one over on them.

“We want to play as soon as we can. I’m sure the lads will be thinking about it (Tuesday’s defeat) until then, I certainly will be. I can’t wait to get out there on Saturday and get three points.”

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