Group winners Luton will show the Checkatrade Trophy full respect

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has insisted he will show the Checkatrade Trophy full respect when selecting a side to face Peterborough United this evening.

Although there is nothing on the game for the Hatters as they have already qualified in top spot, Jones is determined not to devalue the tournament, as Posh, Brighton U21s and MK Dons, can all still qualify themselves.

He said: “It will make absolutely no difference what the circumstances were, we’d be taking the game in exactly the same way.

“Because it’s a game for us that one, we test ourselves against Peterborough, two, some need game time, but it’s a competition we’ve always taken seriously.

“Even when we were sanctioned, we took it seriously, it’s just our taking it seriously didn’t coincide with some rules that we apparently were breaking.

“Now it’s a lot more sensible and they’ll be no taking it lightly or relaxing and going there and thinking ‘we’re through and so on.’

“Yes the pressure is off us to not have to win the game, because it won’t make a hell of a lot difference to the league table whatever happens.

“But we know we have to be respectful to the other two teams in the group, but that wouldn’t make a difference to us anyway, we’re Luton and we prepare the same way.

“If I didn’t value the competition, I could play 11 kids, and take the sanction and not worry about it, but we actually value the competition, and we value other teams.

“So it would be unfair of us to do that in any capacity.

"We’ll be treating it with the utmost respect, as we always do, and be putting out a stronger team possible to be able to compete as there’s still places to be won.”

Jones will, as always make changes to the team, but can bring in the likes of experienced duo Alan Sheehan and Alan McCormack, plus winger Kazenga LuaLua as well.

He continued: “It won’t be just giving people game time, as we have a tough game against Peterborough.

“It won’t be the same team that played on Saturday, but we’ll treat it with exactly the same sort of respect as we did every other one.”

The hosts can still make their way through with a victory, as can both the Seagulls U21s and MK Dons, who also face each other, with all three teams on two points each.

On whether that will make it an even stronger test for his side, with Posh looking to go through themselves, Jones added: “I can’t second guess what Peterborough are going to do.

“They’re in a good place in the league, as are we. They’re through in the second round of the FA Cup, as are we, so they might have different aspirations for it.

“I don’t listen to many interviews, but I happened to be in the room when Steve Evans was interviewed for the last game, so I know he was taking the last game seriously to set up this game as a potential group winning tie.

“Now that hasn’t been the case, but I’m sure he wants to win the game as do we.

"So I’m expecting a very, very tough tie as you would against any Steve Evans team.”