JOLLY OL­LIE

On-loan striker Ol­lie Palmer aims to play his part for Lu­ton

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

OL­LIE Palmer staked his claim for more starts in dra­matic fash­ion last week­end, com­ing off the bench to score a last-gasp Lu­ton win­ner against Blackpool.

But the on-loan striker ad­mits he is happy to play what­ever part he can as the Hat­ters eye up League One next term.

Since he ar­rived from base­ment boys Leyton Ori­ent in Jan­uary, Palmer’s has earned the praise of man­ager Nathan Jones for his per­for­mances in a Lu­ton shirt, es­pe­cially when the for­ward played against Ex­eter last month just 24 hours af­ter be­com­ing a fa­ther for the first time.

How­ever, starts have been few and far be­tween. In his 11 ap­pear­ances prior to this week­end, the 25-year-old had started just once.

But against Blackpool he showed ex­actly what kind of im­pact he can have as he net­ted his sec­ond Hat­ters goal.

It was a cru­cial one, too, the only goal of the game, which kept the Hat­ters in the play-off places.

Cru­cial

“It was a great feel­ing to snatch a goal in the 90th minute,” he said. “I had an op­por­tu­nity to do it at New­port, but it was cleared off the line, so I had to make sure it went over the line this time!

“We have drawn a few games of late and the gaffer had talked about nick­ing a late win­ner. I was de­lighted to be the one to get it and it was an im­por­tant one, too.

“I feel I have had a pos­i­tive im­pact since I’ve been at Lu­ton. The gaffer has come out and said it and the fans seem to be happy with me, so ev­ery­thing has gone re­ally well.

“I feel I have been com­ing off the bench and do­ing well, so now I just need to stick with it.

“I want to be start­ing more games, but it is dif­fi­cult when you have the likes of Danny Hyl­ton, who is one of the top strik­ers in this league.

“There are other top strik­ers here, too, and com­pe­ti­tion for places is strong. But, as long as we are pick­ing up the three points, I am just happy to be in­volved and help out in any way I can.

“Ev­ery­one wants to start and score goals, but I am happy do­ing a job in try­ing to get the team pro­moted.

“We are still fight­ing to get into the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion places and, if we can put a strong of re­sults to­gether then we be­lieve that is still a pos­si­bil­ity.”

Palmer wasn’t the only sub to make an im­pact against Blackpool. The ini­tial shot that let him pounce af­ter a goal­keeper fum­ble was from fel­low re­place­ment Luke Gam­bin.

Jack Mar­riott also came on to turn the game in the Hat­ters’ favour and Palmer is not sur­prised that boss Jones was able to have such an im­pact with his de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

“Nathan has been fan­tas­tic with me from the be­gin­ning,” Palmer added. “This is a fan­tas­tic club and he is still a very young man­ager, but he is do­ing a great job.

“I think he is prob­a­bly the best young man­ager out­side of the Premier­ship. There aren’t many man­agers his age do­ing as well as he is.

“He works us hard but gets his point across well and I have re­ally en­joyed work­ing with him.”

Whether on-loan Palmer re­mains play­ing un­der Jones next sea­son is still up in the air.

Even though the striker’s con­tract at Leyton Ori­ent ex­pires at the end of this cam­paign, Palmer is sim­ply fo­cussed on giv­ing League One foot­ball to Lu­ton fans next sea­son.

“It is dif­fi­cult,” he ad­mit­ted. “I feel bad for Leyton Ori­ent at the state they’re in. It is a mas­sive club go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.

“They were a team fight­ing for pro­mo­tion not long ago, but that is not the case any more.

“But there is not much I can do. I am out of con­tract in the sum­mer. The gaffer at Lu­ton has made it clear I am in his plans and the fans seem happy. Right now, I just want to be part of a squad that gets pro­moted.

“I am free in the sum­mer and we will see what hap­pens.”

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

ROAR DE­LIGHT: Ol­lie Palmer shows his emo­tion af­ter scor­ing Lu­ton’s late win­ner, inset top, against Blackpool and is mobbed by his team­mates, inset be­low

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