Jones: Pre-season will be ‘as difficult as possible’ for Luton's players

Hatters boss Graeme Jones with chief executive Gary SweetHatters boss Graeme Jones with chief executive Gary Sweet
Hatters boss Graeme Jones with chief executive Gary Sweet
Luton’s players are in for a gruelling pre-season schedule when they return to the Brache later this month.

New boss Graeme Jones will be putting his charges through their paces, and has sent out a stark warning of what they can expect under his watchful eye.

After organising friendlies against a trio of non-league sides, he will look to play against some increasingly tougher opponents, either from home or abroad, as he gears up for a season in the Championship.

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Jones said: “I want to make pre-season as difficult as I possibly can for us.

“I need the supporters to know it, that’s my plan.

“I’m not here to beat easy teams and think ‘we’re winning every week’.

“I want to make it as difficult as I can and I want to overstretch our players, so that when the Championship comes along, we have been tested to a better level.

“I’m still negotiating with other teams at the minute, that’s what I want.”

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It’s a methd that has paid dividends for Jones in the past, when he was number two to Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park earlier in his career.

He continued: “We had a season at Everton, my first season, we went to play in the Champions Trophy in America.

“We played Juventus first game, we played Real Madrid in LA at midday, and we played Valencia.

“Being overstretched like that, set us up really for the season.

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“That was the season we got a record number of points, and I really believe in that, so that will be the plan at this point to get as many good opponents as we possible can.

“We’ve got to try and negotiate it and get other people commit as well which isn’t always easy.”

Jones also confirmed that the players would go away to Slovenia as well during pre-season for a block of training, as they have done in previous seasons.

He said: “There’ll be no distractions, I love that.

"It will just be work in terms of benefiting us physically, mentally and tactically.

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“You get very, very few periods of work like that in a Championship season, so I intend to take full advantage of it.”

Although Town’s squad members can expect to see the footballs out quite early on in their schedule, there will be plenty of hard graft involved too.

Jones added: “I call it football fitness, the players will know what football fitness is quite early on, it’s very, very difficult.

“You always have to have a moment where you’re tested technically, because the game’s about the ball and just to run without the ball, I don’t believe in.

“The game’s not like that, you need to be able to think in the game, you’ve got to think when you’re fatigued and that’s a priority with pre-season work.”