Bree relishing the 'kick up the backside' received following Kioso's recall from MK Dons to challenge for his Hatters place

Full back disappointed Luton couldn't keep four successive clean sheet during Barnsley win

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 11th February 2022, 6:45 am
James Bree on the ball for the Hatters
James Bree on the ball for the Hatters

Town full back James Bree is relishing the added competition for his place offered by the return of Peter Kioso from his loan spell at MK Dons recently.

The 22-year-old was recalled from his stint with the League One side last month, having featured 19 times and was immediately back into the side for the 2-0 win at Reading when Bree missed out with a slight hamstring issue, which ended his proud run of being the only player to have played every single Championship minute for the Hatters this term.

He also missed the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United, before being restored the side for the 2-1 win over Bristol City and the ex-Aston Villa player has kept his place for the next three second tier encounters.

Kioso has still been used though, coming on against the Robins, starting Saturday's FA Cup triumph at Cambridge United, while also being a late substitute in the midweek victory over Barnsley in midweek and made some typically fully committed clearances in the final 10 minutes as Luton saw the game out to pick up yet another win.

When asked about the battle for the right wing-back slot, Bree said: "Pete's a really good player, aggressive, really good defender, good going forward as well."

"It just gives that little kick up the backside that I need if I’m slacking or anything, so it's nice, really good competition.

"We get on well with each other, so when he comes on for the last 10-15 minutes like he did today. it’s really nice having him behind me as I know he's a solid defender.”

“I'll be honest, that (ever-present record) was on my mind, I really wanted to play, I didn't want to come out, but I needed a little rest.

"I had a little problem with my hamstring, it was upsetting, but Pete came in and did really well.

"I've come back into the side and done well, so I can't complain."

Bree and his defence have been on top of their game in recent weeks, keeping three successive clean sheets against Blackburn Rovers, Swansea City and Cambridge.

However, they were breached by a poor goal from their pointed of view on Tuesday night, Kal Naismith caught out which sent Carlton Morris away, who then turned inside a rash sliding challenge from Gabe Osho, before dinking over James Shea.

It was still only the fourth goal they have conceded in the last seven outings though, as Bree continued: "It would have been four clean sheets on the bounce which would have been the first time we’d done it in however many years.

"That would have been really good, we’ve defended really, really well recently, so it was disappointing as it came from one of our short corners.

"It’s disappointing, just before half time as well, but it doesn’t matter now."