McManaman believes Hatters boss is the 'right manager' for him
Town attacker Callum McManaman believes Luton boss Graeme Jones is the ‘right manager’ for him to get back to his best form this season.
The 28-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road in the summer after a disappointing season at Wigan Athletic, playing 22 times in the league, but with just one start to his name.
McManaman had begun the first three games of the season for Luton, before being hindered by a groin injury, but has returned in recent weeks and came off the bench last night to earn Luton a share of the spoils with his first goal in the 1-1 draw against Millwall.
Speaking about working with Jones once more, after the pair were at Wigan earlier in their careers, he said: “The gaffer’s been brilliant with me since I’ve been here.
“I started the season the first few games and then picked up a niggle, I came back to training and picked up another niggle, so it set me back a few weeks.
"The gaffer has had me working hard every day, he’s been saying, telling me, it’s going to come and it’s coming and he was right.
“I feel like now when I deserve my chance I’m going to get it.
"Where I feel like in the past, mainly last season, even when I came off the bench and did well, I knew I wasn’t going to to play next week as I was seen as an impact player.
"So hopefully that can change, well it's already started to change this season, so I feel like this manager’s the right manager for me.”
McManaman has been involved in Town’s last three games, starting against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup, then coming on in the second half at Ewood Park in the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, before last night's fixtures.
On the extra work he has been doing to stay available, he continued: “I feel like I was getting to where I’ve been at and then I picked up a niggle.
"I came back and then picked up another little niggle and that set me back even longer.
"When the lads have been on some days not doing as much, I’ve been cracking on and doing more.
"He’s (Jones) been saving me and I’ve been disappointed to not play the last two games, but it worked tonight to be fair to the gaffer, it paid off.
“Hopefully he puts me back in the team on Saturday so I can carry on!”
McManaman’s goal when it came was a lovely effort, as he adjusted his feet to sidefoot Luke Bolton’s cross past an otherwise inspired Lions keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who made a string of superb saves.
It was his first goal since November 2018 and only a third in his last four seasons, but the winger felt those stats were skewed slightly.
He said: “I was buzzing to get the goal.
"It was great run from Luke, he picked me out well to be fair, as he’s put his head down and I didn’t think he’d see me as I’d pulled off.
"I had to adjust my feet last minute and I was buzzing when it hit the back of the net as we needed that.
“It was instinctive as it was zipped in fast, but I think the zip on the ground and the pass, helped me get more power on it.
“It was great to get my first goal and get up and running. I want to get back in the side now and try to kick on.
“I want to add more goals, I haven’t scored many goals as I haven't played much.
"So everyone says, 'you haven’t scored for a year,' but I wonder why. If you don’t get a run of games, it’s hard to score off the bench.
"I’ve done it tonight, so hopefully I can get a run of games and score some more.”
It’s not just scoring that is on McManaman's mind though, as with an in-form striker in James Collins always lurking in the penalty area, he is targeting a number of assists for the Irish international as well.
He added: "Me and Collo have got a good relationship, so hopefully i can get a few assists for this season.
"I've been unlucky not to have a few so far, even today, I've cut one back for him and he’s just missed.
"The first game against Boro he's had one disallowed, so I feel like I can get a few assists for him this season because he’s always in that right place.”