Jones hits out at Sky Sports for highlighting captain Cuthbert’s defending

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has hit out at Sky Sports for their handling of the incident that saw Scott Cuthbert give away a penalty in their League Two semi-final first leg play-off encounter at Blackpool on Sunday.

Town’s captain was penalised by referee Nigel Miller for holding Blackpool defender Tom Aldred in the area to give the hosts a spotkick that Mark Cullen converted for his hat-trick and a 3-2 advantage.

I looked at it back and speaking to people at Sky, I thought they made more of it than it should have been.

Nathan Jones

Sky highlighted a number of other such tussles between the two in a segment looking back at Cuthbert’s defending from free kicks and corners after the game and when asked if he had warned his back-line to be extra careful of their actions inside the box ahead of tomorrow night’s second leg, Jones said: “It’s a big problem for me that, because I looked at it back and speaking to people at Sky, I thought they made more of it than it should have been.

“Because it’s not a penalty, it’s not a penalty and it’s 50/50 going on.

“Aldred’s pulling Cuthbert, Cuthbert’s having a tug at him, it’s 50/50, but the people at Sky made a big, big thing of that.

“So, I don’t want us to give a penalty away, but we’re going to prepare in a way that that hopefully doesn’t happen again as that goes on all the time, we were just unfortunate.”

Sky also revealed that Tangerines boss Gary Bowyer had apparently gone into see the official during the half time break to alert his attention to Town’s defending.

Although not something he advocated, Jones felt it had been a smart move on the part of his opposite number, as he continued: “I think their manager was clever enough to go in and speak to the referee at half time.

“I don’t like doing it if I’m honest (speaking to the officials), but if it’s clever and got him the penalty and got him a lead going into the second leg, then fair play to him, that’s fine.

“It’s up to the referee to give what he sees. I don’t want to say anything that gets me in trouble, but there’s a lot of situations there that could be handled differently and Sky made a big, big thing of it.”

Full back James Justin knows that his side have to be careful when defending set-plays in Thursday evening’s clash at Kenilworth Road now, as he said: “Scott got pulled up on it and we just have to be smart about when we’re doing it so we don’t give away another penalty.”

On whether Jones had spoken to im and his fellow team-mates on their approach to defending with Sunday night’s penalty award still fresh in the mind, he said: “Not really, he’s taken the centre backs in and had a word with them, but we know what we have to do as a team, and know what we have to do tomorrow.”

Justin was also disappointed that the set-piece that led to the penalty was even given, after his perfectly timed tackle on Neil Danns was wrongly adjudged as a foul.

He added: “I was frustrated and it’s one of those things. Not every decision is going to be right and you just have to get on it.

“It’s so annoying, it’s frustrating but that happens, not everyone is perfect.”