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Asa Hall: Luton can do a Burnley, Wigan

There may be pressure on the decision makers at Manchester City and Real Madrid, but the expectations felt at Conference club Luton Town are no less great. Boasting the biggest budget in the league and names like Kevin Gallen and Kevin Nicholls on the books, the pressure at Kenilworth Road has already cost Hatters legend Mick Harford his job and convinced Richard Money to quit Newcastle United for a return to his former club.

The much-travelled Money admits the lure of the project at Luton was too good to turn down - and that's same reason former Birmingham City prospect Asa Hall is still with the club.

The free-scoring midfielder has been linked with teams higher up the Football League pyramid, but is convinced Luton can bounce straight back into League Two after last season's massive points deduction.

Hall told tribalfootball.com: "We have got a great bunch of lads and I feel its one of, if not the strongest, squads in the league. We have not dominated teams like we were hoping for and are not first in the league, so yes I do feel we underachieved at times in the beginning of the season.

"But lately our performances and determination in games has been turning out results. We all have an understanding of where we want to be and we are quickly learning what is needed of us."

The 22 year-old midfielder, who was a regular England youth international playing alongside the likes of Nedum Onuoha and Aaron Lennon, admits Harford's departure shocked him.

"I was obviously disappointed and actually quite shocked, I knew we weren't achieving the standards that we all wanted, i.e. top of the league, but Mick was a huge part in Luton history and he was well liked and well respected by all us players.

"I felt he was a good manager and had a drive like all of us for automatic promotion. I will always be grateful to Mick as he gave me my chance to fully establish myself as a professional."

While it was difficult to cope with last season's 30 points deduction, Hall enjoyed the chance to see Luton at it's best when over 55,000 fans roared them on at Wembley to win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy for the first time.

Hall recalled: "Playing at Wembley and winning the JPT was just amazing and to date definitely the best day of my life. Wembley itself is just breathtaking and walking out with 55,000 fans 40,000 of those being Luton was indescribable, its a feeling I hope to have many more times in my career.

"The Luton fans that made that day so special were fantastic and it will live long in everyone's memory that was there!"

Hall has no regrets leaving Birmingham City last year. During his time at St Andrews, Hall established himself as a key player within the England youth setup, right through to the U20s.

The midfielder is now getting regular football at Luton and is convinced the decision has helped his career.

"Playing for England was a great experience and an honour," Hall says. "At the time I was focusing on playing at a level much higher than I am currently, but I know football and it is a very competitive business and I was unfortunate that I never had the opportunity to play in the first team at Birmingham.

"I knew it was time to then drop down the leagues to establish my name in the game. I still have ambitions to play at a higher level, of course, and I am very serious when I say that I feel Luton have the potential to climb the leagues once more and be a very good Championship side."

With Money in charge and their finances again in order, Luton can draw genuine inspiration from the likes of Burnley and Wigan Athletic, now thriving in the top-flight where the Hatters once reigned.

Hall agrees: "I am very confident that Luton can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Burnley or Wigan and can re-establish themselves as a high league club. This would be a great achievement for everyone involved with Luton and I would love to be a major part in it!"

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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