Jones explains decision to leave striker Lee out

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted it was a tough decision to leave Elliot Lee out of the starting line-up for the 2-0 win over Grimsby Town yesterday.

Sunday, 24th December 2017, 4:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th December 2017, 4:37 pm
James Collins heads home Town's second of the game against Grimsby

The 23-year-old had scored four goals since replacing James Collins in the side, but dropped to the bench with Collins now back from injury on Saturday.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “It was a tactical decision, it wasn’t anything to do with Elliot's performances.

“Elliot has been in wonderful form, and lets be honest, no other side in the league would have left Elliot out of the team for the form that he's been in.

“But we played here against Notts County and we didn’t start very well, 20 minutes it took us to get into the game and it wasn’t until we scored that we did.

“I didn’t want to make that same mistake again. What I wanted to do was make sure we hit our front men real early, secure it, get up the pitch and really put Grimsby under a lot of pressure.

“We did that and he (Collins) couldn’t have repaid me any more.

“He’s a big player I’ve got five big players up there, and I can’t keep all five happy.

"But as Iong as I make sane decisions and it’s not frivolous, I’m not playing a donkey up there or a kangaroo, what I’m doing is making changes for the right reason and James responded with an assist and a goal.

“It may have looked like it was the right decision, but I didn’t know it was going to pan out like that.”

Although Collins went on to win the supporters man of the match to add further proof it was the right call by Jones, the boss continued: “Well, who’s to say that Elliot wouldn’t have done that?

“You look at Manchester City and again, please, I’m not comparing us to Manchester City, but sometimes (Sergio) Aguero plays.

“Sometimes Gabriel Jesus plays and they’re walking away with the Premier League, it happens and they’ve got bigger egos than what we have where.

“But what we have to do, over a 46 games period and with the cup games we have, we have a squad that can compete on all levels.

"At the end, if we achieve all our goals, then everyone’s happy, because everyone will contribute.

"There’s no one here who will sit here in our squad and play five games and not contribute anything, we don’t have any passengers."

On the form of both Lee and Danny Hylton in the last month, Collins himself said: "He’s been excellent, him and Hylts have been fantastic.

"I think Hylts has scored five or six since I've been out and Elliot's got four, so you cant really complain.

"That's why we've got such a good squad and credit to them, but our main aim is to get promoted, and well do that as a squad, so we'll need everybody."

Meanwhile, when Lee came on in the final 10 minutes, he caught the eye straight away, forcing James McKeown into an excellent late stop, as Jones added: "I thought they were brilliant when they came on and even Lawson (D'Ath) contributed with some energy and he was only on for five or six minutes.

"But the two (Lee and Harry Cornick) we brought on stretched the game in terms of Harry with his pace.

"Just when they would be thinking about how we could get a foothold in the game? How could we get a goal to get back in it? We went slightly more positive in terms of three front men and wanted to pin them back, so that was excellent.

"When Elliot came on, he’s had a couple of days to ponder my decision and he’s not happy about it and I don’t blame him for being.

"But when he came on, he really added that impetus and he showed the quality he has and he’s been wonderful since he’s come into the side fully.

"So he's slightly unfortunate, but I made a big decision and I think it’s the right one."