Lukas Jutkiewicz up for the Bolton Wanderers challenge
SAINTS mad Lukas Jutkiewicz is a Wanderers new boy who would be happy to model himself on a famous Reebok name of old.
The on-loan Middlesbrough striker, a boyhood Southampton fan, played his first full game for the Whites in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Ipswich Town.
A bustling centre-forward who’s good in the air, there are a few comparisons to make with a man Jutkiewicz used to watch from the terraces at the old Dell and in the early days at St Mary’s.
“He went on to have a fantastic career at Bolton, so he’s a player I respect massively.”
Jutkiewicz’s debut did not go according to plan but the 24-year-old is under no illusion as to the challenge he has walked into by swapping a play-off chased at Boro with a seemingly inevitable fight against relegation with Wanderers.
“I just want to help the team move forward, to push up the table, and start winning as many games as possible,” he said.
“I don’t shy away from a fight; not at all.
“It’s important to maintain a strong belief in the changing room and strong characters are going to play a big part at the end of the season as we ultimately try and push our way up the table.
“We had a really encouraging first 45 minutes and it was a little frustrating not to have gone in with the lead. It felt as if the gameplan was working. Ultimately, it was my first full game and I’m not happy because of the result. I came here to be part of a team and you want to win games, so of course I’m a bit disappointed with how it went.”
Jutkiewicz has two more years remaining on his contract at the Riverside but admits his future on Teesside is far from clear.
For now, he is content to focus on helping Wanderers find some degree of form by fighting to keep them away from the bottom three.
“At the minute I just want to have a strong end to the season and then reassess things in the summer,” he said.
“I’ve got this year and two more after it on my contract at Boro but I think I’ve walked into a really good changing room of boys here, there is a togetherness and a willingness to get out of the situation we’re in, so at the moment I want to be a part of that.
“I’m surprised that Bolton are down here. I knew the quality of the players in that dressing room from having played against them. That hasn’t changed now that I have played with them as well.
“This is an unforgiving league and it’s about learning when to play the dirty side of it, playing percentages, but I’m still surprised to see Bolton down there.”