Barnett ‘gutted’ not to play at Kenilworth Road this season

Defender Leon Barnett during his time at Luton
Defender Leon Barnett during his time at Luton

Former Hatters centre half Leon Barnett is gutted to not get the chance to go back to Kenilworth Road this season.

The 32-year-old defender, who came through the ranks at Luton, making 70 appearances and scoring three goals, looked like he would have that opportunity as part of the Northampton side who were in League One last term.

I’m proud of them going up, but I’d have loved to have gone back there, even if I’d have got booed the whole game.

Leon Barnett

However, the Cobblers were relegated to League Two, while Town passed them on the way up, meaning Barnett won’t get to return to his old stomping ground.

He said: “That has been gutting, as I’ve not actually been back to Kenilworth Road.

“I played against Luton when I was at Norwich (FA Cup 2013), I’ve seen the goal that I scored was over the line and not given, that was obviously a bit frustrating.

“It’s hard to take as we went down and they went up, I’m proud of them going up, but I’d have loved to have gone back there, even if I’d have got booed the whole game.

“Whether they would have remembered the time I was there I don’t know, but going up is good for the club, good for the town and I wish them all the best.”

Although disappointed on a personal level, Barnett who left Town in 2007 to join West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £2.5million was overjoyed his old side are now back in the third tier of English football.

He said: “I’m delighted to see it, they’ve had a tough four or five years and it’s not worked out their way, but finally and gradually they’ve worked their way back up.

“Nathan Jones has done a good job there and they’ve brought in some good players.

“Hopefully they can push on and maybe get to the Championship, that would be great to see.

“There’s plans there for the new stadium as well, something they were talking about when I was a youngster coming through the ranks at Luton, so it seems quite serious now.”

Having spent last season in League One, Barnett thinks that under Jones, Luton can definitely make a push once more.

He said: “I don’t see why not, they’ve got a mixture of young and experienced pros and they’ve got a manager that they’ve got trust in.

“It’s good to see they’ve got faith in him and I’m sure he’s putting them in the right direction.

“I talked to a few boys that played for him, Cameron (McGeehan) when he was at Scunthorpe and he said he’s a good manager and they all say they enjoy playing under him, so it just shows they’re going in the right direction.

“I think they will go through a bit of a purple patch where they maybe don’t get the results they expect, but that’s just football.

“They would need the experienced players just to step up and gradually grind out the results that they want.”