Luton chief wants U18s to learn from cup exit

Hatters boss Nathan Jones hopes both he, his staff and the club's youngsters can learn from the FA Youth Cup defeat at the hands of Peterborough earlier this month.

Connor Tomlinson has been one of the bright stars for the U18s this season
Connor Tomlinson has been one of the bright stars for the U18s this season

The U18s went out 3-0 at the ABAX Stadium, after defeating the same opposition 5-1 in the EFL Youth Alliance just a few days earlier.

Jones said: “I’m disappointed, but this is a learning curve.

“It would be nice to win the FA Youth Cup, but if you don’t win it then learn from it, and we are.

“We’re learning about a lot of our younger ones as that’s a big stage for youth team football, playing in stadiums.

“They did very well in the first game (beating Brentwood Town 4-0), they did very well a few years back and then that puts those in our eyeline and in our thoughts.

“When we dip them into games like Checkatrade, then they have to respond and do well.

“Some like James Justin have, he’s not just doing well in Checkatrade games and 23s games, but then when you put him in to first team, he takes his opportunity.

“Now that’s the pathway for the younger ones we have here.

“Yes we want them to do well in the youth games, then in the FA Youth Cup, do well in a showpiece game, real pressure, at a stadium, which shows they can handle it.

“Then they bump up to what we do, then when they’re in the first team they take opportunities.

“Now that’s a pathway, a process. Some trust it, some think they’re better than the pathway and some fall by wayside, that’s just football, and life really.”

Jones admitted that some of Town’s young crop may well have spells on loan in a bid to boost their first team opportunities.

He added: “They’ve earned the opportunity to be used first of all, but they may not be ready for that yet, so we’ve dipped them in and brought them on sporadically in the Checkatrade games as we feel that they might be ready.

“Some like Arthur Read is doing well in that team, so he’s now knocking on the door.

“Someone like Jack James has done really well, but we feel that they might need loans to get them close, so there’s always a thought process to what we do.

“How far away are they? How will they get close?

“The youth team lads have done well in the youth team, in the Youth Cup they’ve fallen a little bit short, but that means they’re on our radar

“They’re going to have to do well when they come up to the 23s to get the opportunity in the first team and they have to learn that as we’ve got a strong team.”