First clean sheet not the main aim for Luton chief

A clean sheet isn't top of Luton boss Graeme Jones' wish-list as he aims to engineer another precious three points in the Championship this afternoon.

Saturday, 21st September 2019, 7:30 am
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

The Hatters have gone seven league matches without a shut out in the Championship thus far, conceding 13 goals, the joint second highest in the division.

However, Jones wasn’t overly concerned after going through a similar scenario last term when assistant boss at West Bromwich Albion, who took nine matches to prevent their opponents from finding the net

Ahead of the clash with Hull, Jones said: “Darren Moore is a clean sheet expert as a player and as a coach, we got our first clean sheet in almost October last year, at an ex-Premier League club.

“So I don’t know the stats, but it’s not easy to keep a clean sheet in the Championship.

“We said we want to keep a clean sheet in every game, but the most important thing is winning the game.

“If a clean sheet is the result of that then great, if it’s not and we win, I’ll work at it the following week and try to work towards keeping a clean sheet.

"But I’d rather win a game of football and that’s where always the priority is.”

Standing in their way is a Tigers side who haven’t kept a clean sheet of their own either this term, shipping 11 goals, but only four in their three away matches.

On the threats of the visitors, Jones continued: “They’re dangerous, especially the wide players, (Kamil) Grosicki and (Jarrod) Bowen, but they can play in different ways and change their style.

“They're an experienced Championship club, maybe two years post Premiership club.

“This is a challenge every week now. I mean, if you go back to the QPR game, nobody talks about our first international break to deal with.

“Sometimes it’s not physical, sometimes it’s mental.

"You go from knowing the league, knowing what’s required and competing really well and winning three games.

"Mentally, you maybe come off it and you get a shock when it restarts again.

“QPR didn’t, they were ready, so that’s a lesson for the next international break. It’s all new, it’s all a learning curve, and we are doing okay.”

City are under new management themselves this term, appointing Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann in the summer, taking over from Nigel Adkins.

Jones has done his research on what kind of style the ex-Peterborough chief brings with him, saying: "I’ve not come up against Grant.

“Obviously Donny’s one of my old clubs, so I’ve followed their progress.

“They were a challenge tactically, I watched them in the play-off game last season and the were really competitive with some good players.

“I watched them in detail, I watched their last game against Wigan, watched them against Forest.

"They are capable of hurting you you like every single Championship club, us included.

“Hopefully on Saturday they won’t and we will and we’ll win the game, but Grant knows Luton.

“He’s been here with Doncaster, so he’s got a bit of experience of what’s to come, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Among the Tigers ranks is loan signing Matthew Pennington from Premier League side Everton, who was at Goodison Park when Jones was assistant manager back between 2013-2016.

He added: “Matty is a right sided centre back, a really, really intelligent boy, really competitive, good in the air.

“He was at Ipswich last season on loan, he’s a good boy Matty, I look forward to seeing him on Saturday.”