Jones: It would be utter stupidity to fine us
Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes it would be '˜utter stupidity' if Luton were fined again by the EFL for their Checkatrade Trophy selection at Swindon Town last night.
Luton, who had a £15,000 penalty imposed on them for their selections in the group stages, rung the changes once more against the Robins, making 10 in total from Saturday’s 6-2 FA Cup win over Solihull, as only James Justin kept his place.
However, the likes of Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Dan Potts and Olly Lee started, all who have made over 14 appearances in the league for the club this term, with Town triumphing 3-2 thanks to Josh McQuoid’s double and Isaac Vassell’s strike.
Hatters will receive £20,000 in prize money for reaching round three, but on possibly having to pay a chunk of that back, Jones said: “It’s like Indian giving. Why give it to take it back?
“We’re doing right. We’ve got a squad, we pay our players, we’ve got a great group of players and these are top players for our level.
“We have to play them. What are we going to do? Play the same ones all the time? And, how do I keep everyone else happy? How do I convince those to stay at Luton Town? That they’re future’s with Luton Town?
“Before they’d say, ‘we’ll I’m never getting an opportunities’. Well, here’s your opportunity now take it and they all have. It would be ludicrous, absolutely utter stupidity to fine us, it really would be.”
Jones also pointed out to other competitions where teams make wholesale changes and no-one bats an eyelid, as he continued: “It’s ludicrous.
“We’ve played Olly Lee, Pelly Ruddock, Dan Potts, James Justin and these are players that have played lots of first team games for me, so it’s not a weakened side. It’s the fact that we’ve got a hell of a lot of games.
“I’ve looked at the Champions League tonight and Man City have made seven or eight changes. I’ve looked at other games tonight and others have made lots of changes.
“We have to do that. They’re not Santorini ponies where you just have to flog them every single day, marching up and down a steep hill. These are athletes and you have to look after them, you have to make sure they can go a full season and we’re doing that.
“We put out a team that we think can win the game and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve had a massive game on the weekend where we’ve had to use our squad and we’ve progressed in one cup competition and we’ve got another cup competition tonight where we played a side that we felt could win the game. It has. That leads into another massive game on the weekend.
“We felt it was three big games in a week. We’ve assembled a squad, we need to use them and I felt they were excellent. That’s a strong side we played tonight, a very, very strong side. You could put that side in League Two comfortably, without a problem.”
With the fines coming from the EFL itself, Jones felt the league’s governing body should be proud of the way his side have approach all four cup competitions this term, rather than constantly penalise them.
He said: “It’s just gratuitous if we get a fine for it because we’ve just won a game, we’re progressing in their competition, we bring fans away, we bring more fans than anyone else so we’re actually enhancing the competition and we’re getting fined for it.
“I can’t say what the EFL are going to do but, let me tell you now, we’re an EFL team, we’re an EFL club and we’re doing the EFL proud because we’re competing on every level.
“We’re still in the FA Cup, we’re still in the Checkatrade Trophy, we had two great games against Championship sides (in the EFL Cup) and we’re joint fourth in the league. What more do they want?”
Meanwhile, two-goal McQuoid, who had labelled any fine as ‘scandalous’ previously, condemned any other penalty that might come Luton’s way, adding: “I think that’s stupid really. We’ve beaten a good side despite using the squad. It’s just stupid, it’s a stupid rule.
“You need to feed the young players in as well, give them a chance and that’s what we’ve done. Players like me need game time, so it’s a good opportunity for me to come in as well.”