City are under orders to play it mean against crisis club Luton tomorrow.

Stuart McCall wants them to tighten up after shipping five goals in the past two games.

City have lost both to drop from first to fifth in League Two and McCall is demanding a return to the high standards which saw his side storm to the top.

“Last week at Shrewsbury was down to circumstances as much as anything but to let in three against Bournemouth at home is not good enough,” he said.

“We’ve got to tighten up; not just the defence but the team in general. Look at the other teams up there – Wycombe have only conceded two, Brentford three and Shrewsbury four. We have got to be more resolute.

“I was pleased with the way we started off with clean sheets against Macclesfield and Rochdale but to let in ten goals in eight games is too many and we’ve got to be harder to score against.”

McCall’s hand is again forced by injuries, particularly at right back where Paul Arnison is unlikely to make it.

Simon Ainge could get his first game for a year or McCall may swap Paul Heckingbottom from the left and bring in Luke O’Brien.

With Lee Bullock crocked, Dean Furman should keep his place in midfield alongside Luton old boy Paul McLaren.

Top scorer Peter Thorne is definitely fit to return from his back strain. He missed the Shrewsbury defeat – the first time City have fired a league blank – but has been training again since Tuesday.

McCall said: “After the Exeter game we thought a week’s rest would tidy it up for him. But it wasn’t just a knock but a strain and that can take two to three weeks to clear.

“He struggled through against Bournemouth but didn’t do himself justice, so we knew he wasn’t going to be fit to play last week, but he’s back now and raring to go.”

Luton are well adrift at the bottom but, like Bournemouth, their current position is an artificial one because of the 30-point penalty imposed for financial irregularities.

McCall warned: “They are a good enough team to beat anyone in this league. We saw that with Bournemouth the other week and the same goes for Luton.

“They’ve got some good players and we have to be on top of our game. We set a good standard at the beginning of the season and we’ve just slipped below that in the last couple of weeks.

“Lads who were maybe performing at seven or eight out of ten have just slipped to five or six and we’ve got to pick it up again.”

Lewis Emanuel will celebrate his 25th birthday back at Valley Parade. The former Hanson School pupil, who came up through the City ranks, faces his old club for the second time since heading south two years ago.

Emanuel was in the Brentford side which won at City last November and he will be hoping to make it a double with Luton to make his birthday bash go with an extra swing.

Emanuel, who will be cheered on by several family members, said: “I don’t know what reception I’ll get. When I was at Brentford and played against them I got booed a bit, which I didn’t expect.

“We need the three points and hopefully we’ll get them there but it will be a tough game because they’ve got a good crowd and have started well.”

Emanuel was switched around during his City days and Hatters boss Mick Harford has used him at both full back and in midfield.

He is most likely to slot in at left back as Marc Pugh reverts to his usual left-wing role to accommodate target man Sam Parkin’s return from a back problem.

Luton are keeping their fingers crossed on Parkin and former Leeds midfielder Kevin Nicholls, who has been out with an injured hamstring, to add some much-needed experience to the ranks.

Last week’s team which drew 1-1 with Chester had an average age of just 21. It also included five loan players as Town beg and borrow in their desperate fight for survival.