Luton chief demands his side capitalise on any dips by top three

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones has urged his side to make sure they capitalise on any dip in form the top three may have during the run-in.

Although Town failed to gain any ground on third placed Carlisle United despite beating Hartlepool 3-0 on Tuesday night, the Cumbrians’ victory over leaders Doncaster reduced Luton’s gap to the table-toppers to 11 points.

Now the top three have had a wonderful run, they may have a dip and if they do have a dip then we have to take advantage of that.

Nathan Jones

Second placed Plymouth were also beaten, defeated in injury time by Leyton Orient, as Luton moved within eight of Argyle, whom they host next week.

With 15 games to go this season, Jones, who takes his side to Doncaster this weekend, said: “I said to the boys, the other night (against Hartlepool), whatever happened, if we won then two things could have happened.

“Either we could have gone third, or we could have dragged Doncaster closer to us. One of those things was going to happen, if we won the game.

“So we have to do that and if we continue to win games, then everyone’s going to have to play each other.

“Now the top three have had a wonderful run, they may have a dip and if they do have a dip then we have to take advantage of that.

“Because what I keep saying is we believe how we train, how we prepare, with the squad we have, we were always going to be strong second half of the season and that’s proven so far.

“We have to make sure we continue that because if people do have dips then we have to be in a position to really capitalise.”

To do that, then Jones has warned his side that they need to be ruthless, as they were at times in midweek, scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes.

He continued: “I was critical of them at half time on Tuesday as I gave the analogy of when a boxer has that smell of the end and goes for it.

“I felt we had them at 2-0 and if we had just continued with that, the game could have been done by half time.

“We need that ruthless streak, but we won 3-0. It was a great start, a great end to the game and then in between we did all the dirty, ugly stuff you need to do.

“For me it was a great performance, I just feel we need that ruthless edge as well.

“As we won’t always get the opportunities early on like we did the other day so when we get one we need to take them, as we still need to land the first punches if you like.”

Jones did think his side are starting to show the kind of streak that could see them make a concerted push for the top three though now, adding: “We think we’re in decent form and we’re a little bit disappointed not to pick up some more points than we have, after missing a pen in injury time at Grimsby and we felt we were good value for a win at Wycombe as well.

“So we are in good form and it’s pleasing as it’s a crucial part of the season now and a real business end if you like. These will be defining weeks to come.

“I think Tuesday was a milestone for us in terms of those are the games that we have just kind of flattered a little bit and drawn the game.

“But we’ve had a ruthless streak to us in the last two games and although not being as fluent as we normally are, we’ve picked up six points.”