Hatters boss Nathan Jones admits young centre half Akin Famewo’s performance against Peterborough United in the Checkatrade Trophy has proved he can part of Town’s back-line during the second half of the season.
The 19-year-old delivered a stand out display on the night against opponents from League One, as he helped keep former Hatter Jack Marriott under wraps, with a clean sheet, as Town only went out on penalties.
He did his defensive responsibilities, he was brave, he stepped in, so I’m delighted for him and it just goes to show that we believe in our younger players here.Nathan Jones
Famewo had been in contention to play at Newcastle in the FA Cup, but Jones opted to drop Glen Rea back from his defensive midfield role to partner Johnny Mullins, although that could change when Luton visit Chesterfield this weekend, as the Luton chief said: “He’s pushing to play and he needs to be tested in these games.
“He won’t come up against a sharper strikeforce, well, apart from ours, but I’m delighted that he’s really shown me now that, ‘yes, I can, put me in,’ so it’s a wonderful dilemma to have.”
It wasn’t just defensively that Famewo shone either, as he glided out from the back at times to get Town going, showing some wonderful skill for a centre back, with Jones saying: “He’s a big, powerful lad and he did that, he was excellent on the night, he really was.
“He did his defensive responsibilities, he was brave, he stepped in, so I’m delighted for him and it just goes to show that we believe in our younger players here.
“We’ve got good strong squad, we’ve showed that tonight and that’s the main thing. We’re disappointed we’ve lost the game and gone of out of the competition, albeit on pens, but how they went about their work, how they acquitted themselves was wonderful.”
Famewo was part of a back three that included fellow teenager Frankie Musonda and the vastly more experience Alan Sheehan.
Playing due to his suspension only covering league games, Sheehan has been hugely impressed by both of Town’s young defenders, as he said: “The two of them have come up together, they’ve got a great understanding.
“Akin’s a powerhouse, he’s a big man, he’s physical, he’s got a bit of everything for a higher level and Frankie’s more chilled and composed.
“Akin’s powering out and he’s a specimen of a man, Frankie, quite cool on the ball and then me in the middle, I thought it worked well.
“They’re different players, they’ve had tastes of first team football, and they’re really good players.
“We knew we had to be on our toes, because that’s the front three that scored three at (Aston) Villa, they’re banging in goals and they’re worth millions supposedly at the moment, so it was a good test for us.
“I always try to help them out as much as I can, but I think the two of them will be ready whenever they get the chance, although the team’s playing really well at the moment.
“Whoever’s getting in is doing well, Johnny Mullins didn’t play for a long time, but he’s come in and been brilliant, and Scott Cuthbert was brilliant before that.
“You know you have to be on your toes as there’s so much competition for places.
“A lot of the lads haven’t been playing regularly and they go toe to toe with a team who are challenging for play-offs in the league above, so it’s mad competition.”
Meanwhile, on the duo, keeper James Shea added: “They’re brilliant, in every single game they’ve played, even when we’ve played behind the friendly game behind closed doors, they’ve been absolutely brilliant.
“I feel solid with those two in front of me, I can’t speak highly enough of them and they’ve been fantastic all season.”