Securing the signatures of Alex Lacey and JJ O’Donnell have been just as important as signing new players, Luton manager Paul Buckle has said.
Defender Lacey, 19, confirmed a twoyear deal on Thursday to add to the three-year contract penned by O’Donnell before the end of last season.
Buckle said: “Sometimes you get carried away with trying to sign players that are ready made for the team, which is important as well, but getting those two signed are just as valuable as any other signings. I’m delighted.
“They’ve both mustered a good reputation for themselves in the football world. A lot of people I speak to and clubs that are sniffing around, know of them.
“It’s important we safeguard ourselves.
Gary [Sweet] has been good in recognising that.” When Buckle took over at Kenilworth Road in March he quickly ended the development duo’s loan spells away from the club to bring them back into the fold, and he believes the move has paid dividends.
He said: “When you are developing them, with the ages they’re at, sometimes you can overcook it by leaving them out on loan too long.
“When I came to the club, they would have been looking from the outside at a new manager and it surprised them that I called them back.
“All the players are important to me. I got a chance to look at them and they didn’t let me down and I think the training sessions have done them good.
“It shows I’ve got a big interest in the youth policy, the younger pros and I’m glad they’ve both signed.”
And the Town boss admitted that the upcoming pre-season programme, which begins in earnest on July 2, will be vital for the likes of Lacey, who has made seven first team appearances since his debut against Welling United in the FA Trophy two year’s ago.
Buckle said: “We know his potential and the key now is to keep working him hard on the training ground and try to develop him so he can push for a first team spot.
“I need to create a path for these younger players and a route so that they can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“The first step is to give them a crack of the whip in pre-season, where there will be lots of games for them to impress.”
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