Hatters chief confident Pelly will get back to his best

Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu has been backed to come out his mini dip in form by boss Nathan Jones.

Thursday, 20th April 2017, 8:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:25 pm
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

The 23-year-old had been one of Town’s stand out players in recent months when moving to the holding role in midfield, a position that appeared to suit him perfectly.

However, the last few matches has seen the ex-West Ham youngster shifted slightly wider due to Olly Lee’s return, with his impact on games gradually lessening, particularly in the last two matches,

Jones knew that was always eventually to be expected though, as he said: “He’s played a lot of games, we’ve given him a game count and he was up to 20 in terms of not having a bad game.

“So the last two he’s been a lot less productive than he’s been, but we knew that would happen sooner or later.

“We’ve managed to get 22 games out of him where he’s contributed.

“Now that’s the biggest of his career, the most 90 minutes he’s played of his career, so he’s come a long, long way.

“He’s going to have a dip, this might be his dip. It might be his time, that we pull him out but we’ll see as he’s done fantastically well for us and we want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“That’s what development is. Can he go through a little patch of a rough spell?

“He’s only had a couple of games and even second half the other day, actually he played well, so it was only a game and a half.”

Mpanzu has made 47 appearances this term, 37 of them from the start, which is more than he managed for the last two seasons combined.

Then, he was restricted to a total of 42, with 24 coming in 2015-16 and 18 the campaign prior, as persistent injuries threatened to blight his Hatters career.

It’s a fact not lost on Jones either, as he added: “Regardless of how many development games you play, development games are not league games in any way, shape or form in terms of the intensity and everything.

“So he is literally carving out a career for himself now, which is what he had to do. When he came here he had injury problems, certain aspects of things he did, but now he’s carving a career out for himself which is important.”