Jones anticipates making changes over Christmas period

Hatters boss Nathan Jones doesn't expect to be able to stick with the same side as Luton approach a run of four games in 11 days over the Christmas period.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 10:22 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:41 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Town start with Burton Albion at home this afternoon before travelling to Scunthorpe on Boxing Day.

They also head to Walsall next weekend and then entertain Barnsley on New Year’s Day.

Jones has kept the same team for the past seven league and FA Cup matches but on the chances of the happening for the four games in quick succession, he said: “It’s kind of unfortunate at times if you want to maintain levels, there’s so many in quick succession and it’s the Christmas period, as it’s a festive period, it is the time that’s traditional in this country.

“It’s crazy, it really is, as a player you probably never really thought about it, but when you’re trying to look after a squad and a group of individuals then it’s a tough, tough run of fixtures.

“We saw last year that we’re going to need the squad to be at a level, because it’s very difficult to keep the same side through four games in 11 days, but they are at a good level.

“If you’re trying to keep the same side for all four games, invariably, I’m not sure you can win all four games with the same 11 in such a short period.

“But when you do change things up and it doesn’t quite go right, you open yourself up to something, so we’ll gauge it as we go along.

“We believe in every single player we have here and I don’t envisage it being the same 11 over all four games.”

During last year’s Christmas, Jones altered his side dramatically for the third match, making four changes, as it backfired in a 4-0 defeat at Port Vale.

It’s something that he will keep in mind this term, with Town looking to cement their place in the top two.

He continued: “Last year we took six out of the nine points over the Christmas period.

“We had a fantastic performance away at Swindon and then we swapped things up, because we knew the quick succession and we lost to Port Vale.

“Then we went back to the stronger 11 we felt at the time and we beat Lincoln, which in hindsight, was the one we wanted to win out of the two.

“We wanted to win all three, that’s why we changed it, but we just didn’t perform away at Port Vale for whatever reason, so we’ve got to be careful, but I don’t think there’s any right or wrong.”

Jones was happy to report no injury concerns for his side going into the contest, saying: “We’re probably in even better shape than we were last week as (Alan) McCormack, (Luke) Berry have had another week under their belts, so we’re almost full quota.

“(Jack) Senior and Jack James are not quite ready, but everyone else is fully fit.”

Standing in Town’s way of getting their festivities off to a perfect start is a Brewers side who have struggled in the league so far, sitting 15th, but reached the Carabao Cup semi-final in the week, winning 1-0 at Middlesbrough.

They will now face Manchester City for a place in the final, as Jones said: “They’re a good side, a side that came down, and a side filled with the same type of player that were in the Championship last year, so they’re full of Championship players.

“They’ve taken good loans, they’re a very well structured, well disciplined side, and they’ve got some very, very good players, so it’s another really tough game.

“Coupled with the result they had in midweek, you’d imagine they’d be buoyed by that, but we can’t be in any better form.

“So I don’t think that will go against us or for us in anyway, it will just be another tough game against another very good League One side.”