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Hatters midfielder Freeman eager to feature in his first Championship play-offs

Hatters midfielder Luke Freeman is hoping to get his first experience of the Championship play-offs when the Hatters begin their quest to reach the Premier League with a semi-final first leg trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

The 31-year-old has only been involved in the end of season lottery once in his 15-year career, that when part of Stevenage’s third tier campaign back in 2012, as they were beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Sheffield United.

Following his return to fitness after a long-standing groin injury last month, Freeman has made six appearances for Town, including his first full 90 minutes in the Championship for well over two years as Luton were held to a goalless draw by Hull City on Monday.

Luke Freeman goes for goal against Hull City last weekendLuke Freeman goes for goal against Hull City last weekend
Luke Freeman goes for goal against Hull City last weekend

Asked about the opportunity of featuring in the upcoming fixtures, the former Arsenal youngster said: “I have done the semi-final of the play-offs in League One, that was years back when I was 18 with Stevenage.

“We won League One with Bristol City, then I missed out on the play-offs to the Premier League with Sheffield as I got bought when they went to the Premier League, so I haven’t been involved in a Championship play-off game.

“It would be nice, these are the kind of milestones you want to tick off in your career.

“To be able to say you’ve won League One and maybe get promoted from the Championship to the Premier League and then play in the Premier League, these are the boxes you want to tick, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Luton will travel to Wearside where over 45,000 will be in attendance at the weekend, creating what is expected to be a red-hot and partisan atmosphere in favour of the Black Cats.

Town then head back to Bedfordshire where just over 10,000 will be screaming them on at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening, and on potentially getting to play in such massive fixtures, Freeman continued: “You’ve got to thrive on these kinds of games.

“This is what you play football for, these big games that mean a lot.

“We’ve worked very hard, everyone at the club, from the recruitment, to the staff, to the gaffer, to the medical staff, to the players, to be in this position we’re in.

“So it’s all about embracing it now, relishing this kind of pressure and we’ve got to kick on.

“We just take it a game at a time, we’ll start looking at the first leg of the play-offs and then the second leg.

“Then if we get to final, which hopefully we will do, we’ll just take it game by game and we’ll deal with that as and when it happens.”

The fact that Luton reached the play-offs once for a second successive season was of no shock to those inside Kenilworth Road.

However, finishing third and even pushing Sheffield United for the final automatic spot in the final weeks, might have surprised the odd few, as Freeman added: “We always were aiming for the play-offs from last season, that was always the goal, we always believed we could get there.

“To finish third and at one point nearly trying to push for second, we maybe didn’t think it would be as strong as we have done.

“But we definitely were always aiming for play-offs and we could always see ourselves getting in the play-offs, but to be this strong going into it, maybe not so.”

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