Hatters boss wants miserly away run to continue

Dan Potts was injured against Barnet on New Year's Eve
Dan Potts was injured against Barnet on New Year's Eve

Luton boss Nathan Jones hopes his side can set their own record for away clean sheets at Fratton Park this afternoon.

The Hatters recently equalled a club milestone of four successive league shut outs on their travels in the Football League, dating back some 80 years to the 1930s.

You have to press for 90 minutes, you have to work hard, stop things, defend set plays, have to go with runners.

Nathan Jones

They have gone 371 minutes without conceding since Leyton Orient’s Ollie Palmer netted on October 15 and Jones wants to continue their miserly nature against Portsmouth in Luton’s first game of 2017.

He said: “I am pleased, I hope that turns into fives and sixes and sevens now.

“We work hard and it’s a team thing not just a back four, a keeper.

“All those are contributory factors, but it’s a work ethic that we have.

“We defend from the front. The likes of Danny (Hylton) whose relentless in his work-rate, coupled with Jack (Marriott) and Isaac (Vassell who have been in.

“We work hard on our structure at defending, defend the box, have a good goalkeeper, so we’re very pleased because it takes so much to get a clean sheet.

“It’s not just are your defenders good defenders? It takes so much and you have to press for 90 minutes, you have to work hard, stop things, defend set plays, have to go with runners.

“They all do it, so I’m very pleased with that.”

On the challenge faced when Town head to the south coast, Jones, who saw Luton lost 3-1 to Portsmouth in November, continued: “It’s a big game, a big game.

“We had a wonderful game here against them, a very tight game, tighter than the scoreline showed.

“They’ve got the quality to hurt you when they get opportunities. I went to watch them (at Yeovil) and they have the quality, but we go there in good form and we look forward to the game.”

The Luton chief is hopeful that defender Alan Sheehan will be fit to take his part in the visitors defence, after he went off during the second half against Barnet on New Year’s Eve.

However, Dan Potts has little chance of making the trip to Pompey, suffering a recurrence of his previous injury as the Luton boss added: “It’s unfortunate for him as he just tweaked it again, so we’ll have to find out what he did.

“Sheehan was a precaution as he’s been out for a little while and we need to make sure he doesn’t have an extended spell on the sidelines.

“That’s why we brought him off as it gives me the option to have him available (for Pompey), so no problem.”

Luton won’t want the popular Irishman fit just for his defending either, as it was Sheehan who broke the deadlock against the Bees, curling in a glorious free kick from 25 yards.

It was also the first goal scored by a player other than Danny Hylton and Cameron McGeehan in the league at Kenilworth Road since September 24, as McGeehan himself added: “Sheezy has got a great free kick on him.

“It’s the second time he’s scored from one this season, so he’s on them, he whips them in and we know he’s got that quality.

“There were a couple of other good goals and that helps take the pressure off the team when Sheehan and Gills (Alex Gilliead) pop up with a few goals.

“It’s been just me and Hylts really, obviously Jack’s (Marriott) picked up and been getting the goals recently, so it’s good for everyone to chip in with them.”