ON THE RIGHT ROAD
Andrew Shinnie says car-sharing is helping Luton’s promotion push
FIVE team-mates, one people carrier and a rush-hour journey to training might not scream ‘glamor’ in the world of a footballer – but Luton’s Andrew Shinnie would beg to differ.
To describe the past two years as turbulent would be an understatement for the Birmingham loanee, who has spent far more time away from St Andrew’s.
So it’s little wonder that the midfielder’s home and heart are high on the agenda of where he spends his time – importantly off the pitch as well as on it.
And, with captain Scott Cuthbert, brothers Olly and Elliot Lee and Dan Potts joining him on the morning pilgrimage to Kenilworth Road from Essex, Shinnie is doing his upmost to become part of the furniture.
“It’s great that we’ve got it – it’s good of the club that we can all fit in and have a good laugh together,” he said.
“We can have a good joke in the morning. We’re all good friends and there’s a lot of team spirit and bonding, so I really enjoy that part of it.
“We stop off and have a coffee, enjoy each other’s company, and that’s something I really look forward to.
“Some people enjoy travelling in on their own, training and then going home, but the socialising is important to me, having the banter around.
“My missus, Aimee, is really good friends with Olly’s missus. She’s got friends in Essex and it made sense to move there to be able to settle in and make things easier.”
With his Birmingham contract coming to an end next year, a conclusion one way or the other looks likely for the 28-year-old, who is at Luton on loan until next summer, with a permanent deal a possibility.
A step-down to League Two it might have been for Shinnie, but with the Hatters currently third and a favourite for promotion, the former Scottish international sees things far from that way.
With Nathan Jones at the helm, the chance of Shinnie’s head being turned was not a surprise.
The midfielder was one of Jones’ targets when assistant manager at Brighton and is one of five players signed – either permanently or on loan – from Premier League or Championships clubs last summer.
Shinnie added: “The ambition played a part. The club are in League Two but in the years to come will get up the leagues. It’s got good backing, good fans and an ambitious manager and owners.
“Everything just seemed right at the time and it excited me. The manager presented to me where I’d be playing and it all looked to make sense.
“If you’re settled, then you play your best football. It’s massive for me.
“It’s been a bit tough. My partner and I are away from family and it has been a while. It is difficult at times, but those are the sacrifices you make to play football.”
On Tuesday, Shinnie returned from injury against AFC Wimbledon in the Checkatrade Trophy, scoring his first two goals for the club to help the Hatters top their pool in his first start for a month.
But, with those his first strikes since notching for Hibernian in February, the attack-minded player is far from content to stop there.
“It’s a part of my game where I feel I should be doing better,” he added.
“I can finish well and have that composure, so it is somewhere I am looking to improve on.
“There was a good start to the season, both personally and as a team, so injury does set you back but I needed time to get my ankle better.”
READY TO GO: Andrew Shinnie is glad to be back in action after injury