Bradley determined to continue exceeding his own expectations in what he admits could be his only shot at reaching the Premier League

Town skipper ready for his first taste of the play-offs

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 13th May 2022, 12:29 pm
Hatters captain Sonny Bradley
Hatters captain Sonny Bradley

Luton skipper Sonny Bradley is going to give everything he can to surpass the expectations he has already exceeded when starting out in the game, knowing it could well be his one and only shot at being able to call himself a Premier League player.

Bradley, who was born in Hull, came through the ranks at his hometown club, turning pro as a 19-year-old in 2010, spending three years with the Tigers, although only played twice, before moves to Portsmouth, Crawley, Plymouth and then the Hatters back in 2018.

While at Kenilworth Road, the defender was a key component in a side who won promotion to the second tier in 2019, as even that bettered the ambitions he had set himself as a youngster.

Now, Bradley is three games away from going beyond his earlier goals and reaching the top flight, where he would find himself taking on the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

The realistic centre half knows opportunities like this don’t come around too often either, saying: “As a youngster you want to play at the top level, at the top clubs and play for your country, that’s amazing as well, but I grew up watching Hull in the old Division Three.

“I used to go with my dad and that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a professional player and play at that level.

“I’ve exceeded that, I’m a Championship player now, it hasn’t been easy getting here, and now there’s a chance I could become a Premier League player.

“As a youngster that’s what you want to do, you want to play against the best, the top clubs in the country, play at the best grounds, against the best players.

"For me, I understand my age, I’m hoping this won’t be my last shot at it, but I’m not stupid, I know it could be.

"So from a personal point of view, I’m going to throw everything at it, I’m sure if the boys do exactly the same then fingers crossed we can get there.”

Although having played almost 450 senior matches in his 12 years as a pro, this is the first time Bradley will have taken part in the end of season play-offs.

At 30, he is one of the older heads in the squad, although believes that there is the right combination, with players such as Robert Snodgrass, Cameron Jerome and Henri Lansbury, who have all been there before, backed up by a younger element including Elijah Adebayo, Allan Campbell and Reece Burke.

He continued: “I think we’ve got a really good mix of experience.

"There are a few boys I believe are probably in their primes and some of the younger boys as well who have got good legs and good energy which will be needed as well.

"For me personally, it is my first encounter with the play-offs so it is slightly new for me but any time this football club has been involved in big games, we’ve always done well.

"I think for the football club certainly in recent history, this is probably the biggest game we’ve had for a fair few years, so I’m hoping on the night we can keep our composure, step up and put in a really good performance.”

Despite it being a different experience to what has been used to, Bradley won’t be altering too many things ahead of the game and before kick-off either, adding: “The majority of the talking is done by the manager and that is pretty normal at any club.

"The manager is very emotional, he knows what he’s saying, what he’s doing and he’s got a clear vision of how he wants the game to go.

"We listen to him, of course we do, and the other members of staff, then before as the warm-up finishes, we will have a huddle and a chat.

"I will say my words but like I said at the weekend, I said ‘this is going to be a special chat because this isn’t the last time I’m going to do this,’ so that’ll be the same conversation again.

"I’ll probably point to specifics of the game, how we want to start the game, speak about the emotion.

"The atmosphere will already be there, that’ll take care of itself, it’s looking at specifics and reminders going into the game.”