Luton striker Jack Marriott still has plenty of time to hit the heights he did for the club last season according to boss Nathan Jones.
The forward, who was Town’s leading scorer in the 2015-16 campaign with 16 goals to his name has struggled for consistency this season, although his double against Chesterfield took him to eight goals in all competitions.
Marriott had the same tally at this stage of the season last year as well, going on to enjoy an excellent second half, where he notched a further eight times from mid-February onwards, as Jones said: “When people say he’s not having a productive season, he’s got eight goals already this year.
“It’s a second full season for him so it’s always going to be a little bit more difficult, but we know what Jack gives us.
“Hylts (Danny Hylton) has taken the accolades, but we know we’ve got a real threat with Jack and it’s all about keeping him focused.
“We’re just over half way through the season so there’s still a big chunk of the season to go for Jack.
We’re hoping that he continues the vein of form he’s shown in the cups in the league and then he should finish with a good tally.Nathan Jones
“We’re hoping that he continues the vein of form he’s shown in the cups in the league and then he should finish with a good tally.”
Marriott missed a number of good opportunities during the Hatters’ 2-1 FA Cup exit at Accrington last weekend, but looked sharp during his 77 minutes in the Checkatrade Trophy with two clinical finishes against the League One Spireites as he has now netted five goals in his last six games.
Jones continued: “He’s in decent form, it’s just at the weekend he’s got in three times, three one-on-ones and didn’t quite take them.
“The pitch had a lot to do with that, after watching it again. The stickiness and the bobbliness of the pitch, didn’t really help Jack take his chance.
“But he gets in and that’s what we want from him, he’s a threat.
“He’s taken his goals well and he does that. The Solihull game he did that, and he’s clinical when he gets those.”
With both Craig Mackail-Smith and Isaac Vassell on target too in midweek, then Jones knows he faces a decision over who to play alongside Danny Hylton, should the talismanic forward recover from his rib injury in time.
He added: “I don’t mind who scores, but for strikers it’s very important for them to get on the scoresheet and give them confidence and so on.
“Jack was very fluent on the night, could have had more probably as well. We stuck to our game plan, worked hard, pushed them, kept the ball really well, created good chances and it was nice to come off with a clean sheet and four goals.
“I think it’s good for the boys that aren’t involved and the boys that drop out. Everyone’s taking it really seriously and everyone wants to be in the squad for the league game on a Saturday. It shows with the results we’ve got and how far we’ve progressed.”
Meanwhile, fellow striker Mackail-Smith, who notched his first goal of the season from the penalty spot, knows just what a battle it is to make it into Jones’ starting line-up now.
He added: “With the attacking options we’ve got, Vass as well with the amazing pace, he’s got so many options he can use.
“It’s very difficult to get in the team and if you don’t do what you need to do in the team you come out, and there’s someone to replace you.
“The gaffer has lots of decisions to make and all the boys can do is like myself work hard and try to push ourselves to get into that first team squad.
“You do everything you can when you get the games if you’re not in the squad. The boys that have been on the fringes have done fantastically in this tournament.
“They’ve come in, worked hard, shown the gaffer what they’re capable of and, playing against higher opposition, it shows that they can do it at that level and obviously League Two.
“It’s good for the gaffer to have these options and hopefully we can use them well.”