Hatters Heroes - (G) - Andre Gray
With G the next letter in the alphabet I've taken the opportunity to select a player that is very much still part of the Hatters set-up, Andre Gray.
This season Gray`s 20+ goals have helped propel Luton Town back to the Football League and it remains to be seen if Luton can hold onto their prized striker before our League two campaign begins in earnest in August.
Andre was born in Wolverhampton on 26th June 1991. His football career started as a youth player at Shrewsbury Town and he signed his first professional contract on the eve of the 2009/2010 season making his full debut in the opening game coming off the bench to score in the 3-1 over Burton.
Unfortunately Andre only made three more appearances, all as a substitute before being move on to Telford United on loan. During his spell at Telford, Gray only made five appearances, scoring just the once. He left Telford in February 2010 and joined Hinckley United on a months` loan, during which he made four appearances.
Released by Shrewsbury, on 14th May 2010, Gray signed a one year deal with Hinckley and was to make some progress scoring 14 goals in 36 games. The following season Andre notched 23 goals in 45 appearances and his exploits began to attract interest from several league sides as well as some Conference sides.
On 22nd March 2012, it was Luton that beat all the others for his signature, securing Gray`s services, first on loan, then on a permanent basis for a fee of £30,000. Gray was to score on his Luton debut, against Grimsby and also netted in the following three games making Andre the first Hatter to score in his first four games. That season Gray`s goal in the last game of the season, against Fleetwood Town, ensured Luton secured a play-off place. Andre netted further goals in the play-offs but Luton were to lose the play-off final to York.
Undeterred by Luton remaining in the Conference, Gray put pen-to-paper on a new two year contract a mere one day after the loss in the aforementioned final, signing a deal that expired in June 2015. The following season Gray was Luton`s top scorer with 20 goals in all competitions.
This season, our promotion season, Gray was used by John Still as a substitute with Mark Cullen, initially, preferred up front. Gary didn`t get his first goal of the campaign until 24th September but was to cement his place in the starting eleven scoring 16 goals in 17 games as Luton went on to establish an unbeaten run that would see them push for and achieve promotion.
Whether Luton can hang on to Andre Gray, this summer, remains to be seen, but is there a better shout for a Hatters Hero beginning with G than Andre Gray?