Jones: No sulking or the team will suffer
Hatters boss Nathan Jones has warned his squad that they will suffer if anyone starts feeling sorry for themselves about being unable to break into the first team.
The Luton chief named the same starting 11 for the eighth game in a row at the weekend as they beat Burton Albion 2-0, meaning the likes of Alan Sheehan, Dan Potts and Danny Hylton were all on the bench once more.
However, with Glen Rea injured in the first half, Jorge Grant replacing him and putting in an excellent performance, Jones felt it showed all his players were performing at a high level.
He said: “We’re only as strong as our weakest link, so if people want to sulk and think ‘I’m not in the side now, I’ll have a good Christmas and I’ll have a little bit extra Christmas pudding, or those pigs in blankets,’ then we’ll suffer.
“But as you’ve seen Jorge Grant had to come on early and he was excellent because he’s trained at that level.
“They all have because if anyone feels sorry for themselves, if anyone takes their foot off the gas, if anyone thinks they can have a different preparation to anyone else in the squad, then we’ll suffer.
“So it’s important that your squad is right at it, that your staff are right at it, as if anyone takes their foot off the gas, we won’t be the team that we are, we will not be the team that we are.
“But they won’t as they’re a great group, I trust them and it’s going to be a busy time.”
Hylton also proved there is no ill feeling for those not starting with an excellent 20 minute cameo in which he was a constant nuisance to the visiting defence, winning the penalty that saw James Collins make the points safe.
Jones continued: “We said on the bench, ‘what do we need now to see the game out?’
“It was similar to the Fleetwood game, a relatively even game, even though I didn’t feel we were under any pressure, and then we got the goal and what do we need now to kick us on a level?
“Hylton did it again, he was the impetus last time to bring him off the bench and I thought he was outstanding when he came on.
“For me he’s one of the best strikers in the league so for us to have him on the bench means we’re strong and in a good place.
“I thought he was excellent when he came on, got the penalty, won his headers, ran in behind, he really gave us a little thrust and we needed that to see the game out.
“Once we did that (got the second goal), it will take a good side to come back from that.
Midfielder Luke Berry, who has been among the substitutes since recovering from a knee injury recently, knows that the way Town prepare means everyone is ready to perform.
He added: “We’ve got a great squad, we’ve got a bit of everything on the bench as well.
“We’ve got energy, we’ve got experience, so the gaffer has no hesitation to put anyone on.
“We train hard, we train like we play every single day.
“If you watch us out there (on the pitch) and watch us train, there’s not much difference.
“It’s good for the players who haven’t been playing, you get the fitness so when you come into the game you’re not shocked, it’s brilliant.”