Pleat hopes Town can bounce back and win promotion

Former Town manager David Pleat hopes Hatters can emulate his 1984-85 side after their FA Cup fifth round defeat to Millwall on Saturday, writes Mike Simmonds.

Under Pleat’s stewardship, Town suffered a hugely unfortunate 2-1 extra-time loss to Everton.

The ex-boss said: “I had a bad experience when we lost a semi-final to Everton with a young team.

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“Everyone said this is it now, things will slide because we were so near to victory, but we didn’t slide, we went the other way.

“The biggest thing I hope and pray is that it (the Millwall loss) doesn’t affect them in the league and they can bounce back.

“They need to do well in the league, they’ve got to get out of it.”

The 68-year-old was covering the game for the BBC at the weekend and speaking to the News/Gazette afterwards, he said: “I thought they defended really well, had most of the possession, maybe didn’t use it well enough in the final third.

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“It was a great effort, very determined and I thought they were on front foot early on.

“The first goal rocked them back a bit, but they put too many balls close to the goalkeeper when they should have done crosses hard and low.

“It was a silly mistake for the first goal, it looked a bit fortunate for the second, although (Rob) Hulse probably wouldn’t say it.

““Three-nil was not a reflection of the way the game was, but you have to take your chances.”

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