Jones will be ‘very, very disappointed’ if sanctions are imposed for Trophy changes

Luton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones believe it would be ‘naive and harsh’ if Luton were to receive a financial penalty for making wholesale changes throughout their Checkatrade Trophy campaign.

The club confirmed last month that the FA would look into the possibility of fining them for not playing the required amount of first team players in their matches after the group stages of the competition were finished.

Our youngsters have been a credit, so I’d be very, very disappointed if any sanctions were imposed on us.

Nathan Jones

With that now the case, Jones confirmed that no fine had been received so far, and he hopes that will remain the case, saying: “We haven’t yet, but if they do they do. I don’t envisage they will do, as I think our games have been a credit to the Trophy.

“Anyone who watched our game on Tuesday night (against Millwall), I’ve been to some of the other games, that haven’t had anywhere near the intensity or the desire to win games, so I think it would be naive or harsh to fine us.

“If they adhere to the rules then fine, but the thing is we’ve had a right go in this Trophy. We’ve treated it with the respect it deserves, and we’re enjoying and I think people who watch us are enjoying it.

“Because I’m getting a lot of feedback from people who are enjoying it, plus we had over 2,000 fans at our game, I think that was the highest attendance (on the night).

“So the club are taking it seriously, the fans are taking it seriously, and you ask them.

“I think we are as a club, a credit to this Trophy, we could abuse it, no problem, I could make three changes in the first minute, so put that out.

“I could make three changes and make the competition farcical, but we haven’t, we’ve had a right desire and I thought the other night was a credit to the Trophy.”

The club released a statement before the match against West Brom U23s last month confirming they had been asked by the EFL to submit their ‘observations’ over team selection, with the rules stating a fine of as much as £5,000 could be received,

Jones will make sure the governing body is aware of his opinions too, saying: “I think the club will (make their observations, but I’ll probably be asked to give my opinion.

“I’ve given my views on the competition, I’ve been quite open in the media and the national media.

“I think there are certain things they need to improve, but I think it’s been excellent, I really do and if we’re going to give young talent an opportunity, want to test them, then all well and good, but make sure we get our opportunity as well.

“We’re not here just to provide pathways for Premier League clubs, we’re a club with history, with a lot of history, with as much history as Premier League clubs, and with a following and with a passion about us and with a desire to do well.

“So we have to have the same kind of pathway as they do, and our youngsters have been a credit. So I’d be very, very disappointed if any sanctions were imposed on us.”

This year has being a pilot scheme for the competition, that Luton won back in 2009, when it was the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with Premier League U23 sides invited to take part.

Unlike many who have opposed the tournament, Jones is one of the rare managers who actually felt it has been a success, saying: “I do personally, I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve really enjoyed it.

“Now whether others would see it the same way is another thing, but it’s given us the opportunity to see that everyone of our squad is competing at the level.

“We’ve given 11 debuts, which is fantastic, we’ve qualified for the next round, we’re looking forward to the next round, so I’ve loved, I’ve enjoyed it and that will probably put a little bit of a cloud over it if we were to get sanctions.”

On what the EFL could do to improve it if they stick with the current format going forward, Jones added: “Just ask clubs for feedback, if they ask clubs for feedback, clubs will give them feedback.

“Some will just go, no, and rubbish it, but true feedback will say, we don’t want people putting out their youth team because they want to abuse the competition, or it could be a selective competition.

“But for us it’s been very good and all I can say is we’ve enjoyed the competition. As a club we’ve embraced it, as fans we’ve embraced it and I think it’s been magnificent and a credit to our club.”