'Exemplary' Sheehan's patience hailed by Town boss

Alan Sheehan celebrates Luton's late winner at Oxford on Tuesday
Alan Sheehan celebrates Luton's late winner at Oxford on Tuesday

Hatters boss Nathan Jones hailed the patience shown by club captain Alan Sheehan during his spell out of the team in recent weeks.

The 32-year-old, who has been one of the first names on the teamsheet since Jones took over in January 2016, has made just two substitute appearances for the Hatters in the eight league games since losing his place after the 3-1 defeat at Peterborough.

He came off the bench to great effect late on at Oxford on Tuesday night, sending over the free kick for Dan Potts to head a stoppage time winner, as Jones said: “It’s competition, but Sheehan is a massive part of what we try to do here.

"He has been a massive part of everything we’ve achieved and the foundations we’ve laid in place, and he’s still a massive, massive part of that.

“It’s not about Sheeze, Sheeze has been patient, he’s been exemplary, he’s our club captain, he’s a leader around the place, he’s a driving force, he’s been brilliant, he really has and he’s a wonderful footballer.”

The Irishman came on as the holding midfielder in place of Glen Rea at Oxford in midweek, and it’s an area that Jones could look to deploy him going forward, saying: "He might have to be prepared to play elsewhere which he’s quite prepared to do.

"We brought him into the defensive midfield position the other day because we felt with the man advantage, he had the quality to bring our wider players into play and then obviously the set-play threat which he has, which the other night wasn’t up to our usual standards.

“I believe he can, that’s why I put him there the other day, it wasn’t pie in the sky, we’ve talked about it.

“Harty (Paul Hart) was a big believer as Harty felt that’s one of his best positions in terms of how good he is in possession because he’s one of our best footballers, if not the best.

“So it’s something he can do, but we have good options there, Alan McCormack for that, it’s about finding the balance, finding the right team.

“We’ve got good competition, got competition everywhere and they’re all right at it and that’s only to get stronger.

“But we’re 11 games in, so there’s a long way to go, I’m sure there’ll be twists and turns, but we're going to need everyone.”

Jones also didn’t rule out the possibility of playing Sheehan in central defence alongside Sonny Bradley, despite both of them being predominantly left-footers.

He added: “You can do it, you’d rather have the balance, but as people keep telling me, no-one has any fears playing two right siders, so why not two left-footers?

"Left-footers are usually better technically, but we wouldn’t have a problem doing that, especially with the calibre of the ones we have.

"It’s just that we like balance here because of the way we play, but we’ve got a real good group, got four centre halves, Lloyd Jones coming back, but I’ve got four real gooduns who can play at any time.

"So we’re in a good place in terms of that. We’re gathering a little bit of momentum, we just have to make sure that we continue and whoever plays, some people have to be patient.

"Jorge Grant wasn’t happy that he wasn’t involved on Tuesday night, but we've got another game Saturday where we need real fresh legs.”