Hatters boss 'fearful to train' after yet another Luton player suffers training ground injury

Town manager having to limit the amount his squad can do

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:23 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has declared that he is ‘fearful to train’ at the moment after the club’s unprecedented injury crisis.

Ahead of last weekend’s home game against Swansea, the Hatters had six players missing, with Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley, Amari'i Bell, Allan Campbell, Fred Onyedinma and Admiral Muskwe all missing.

Striker Danny Hylton then pulled out in the warm-up with a calf problem to make it seven absentees in total, the third successive game that Town have seen a player withdraw just moments before kick-off.

Although Luton have tried to manage things at the Brache ahead of this weekend's trip to Bournemouth, Jones revealed they have still managed to lose another player to injury, saying: "It is a day-to-day thing now, it is an unprecedented time as I have never seen anything like it to be honest with you.

“We’re literally taking everything day to day, we don’t know what things are going to happen.

“It is the most phenomenal thing I’ve ever seen, I can't fathom it because structurally we are exactly the same.

“Normally we have 94 to 95 per cent availability rate, now we’re fearful to train.

“I’m not exaggerating, we’re having to limit the amount of training.

“We have given them two days off this week, today we have had a player go down in training again that is quite phenomenal from something.

“It is just unprecedented, but we have a good squad, a competitive squad and someone else then has to step up.”

When asked for more details about the player who was injured in training, Jones continued: “Unless you want me to give you team news, it’s difficult.

“Something’s happened in training today and it’s difficult to fathom.

“It’s very difficult for me to say to you, ‘he’s recovered, he’s recovered, he hasn’t recovered, he’s coming back, he’s a week away’ because it’s team info and, at the minute, we’re keeping everything in-house.

“Things are happening all the time that’s a little bit worrying, because we never have injuries.

“We have a 94-95 per cent availability rate in every year that I’ve been a manager.

“Now, we’re down in the 70s and that can’t happen because we’ve invested money in players.

“People like Fred Onyedinma, Muskwe, we’ve hardly seen them, but we’ve spent a lot of money on those.

“Allan Campbell, there’s nothing you could do with that, because it’s just an horrific injury.

"People are picking up little things, Jordan Clark, it seems to be a lot of bad luck.

“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in god’s will but, right now, things are going against us, because we’ve had a lot of people go down with injuries and things.

“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to get on with it.

"We thought getting to the last international break would’ve freed everyone up, then suddenly you pick up five things in a 24-hour period.

“This doesn’t happen, but something is happening to us.

"We keep praying, I have to keep believing that things return and that’s what it is.

“We’ve still got a very good, competitive team, it’s just that I haven’t got the options, in a three-game week, that I would like to.”

Town really started to feel the effects of their injury crisis in the second half of Saturday's clash, as leading 3-0 at half time, they couldn’t stop their opponents dominating after the break scoring three times in the final 25 minutes to earn a point.

Jones continued: "As we saw in the second half, players were dead on their feet.

"The energy they had in the second half was a remarkable difference because they were out on their feet, because they were the same players that had two away journeys, 90 minutes, 98 minutes and then we had to go through it again.

"This league is relentless and at the minute we’re picking up things that are quite unprecedented, as we're trying to gather momentum with everyone but we’re having to be makeshift at the minute.

“There was a number of things we should have done better in the second half.

"Our starting positions could have been better, but they put in so much work.

"To go to Blackburn, 90 plus six to have to get a result, Bristol City is exactly the same because of the efforts and the way that we play.

"Swansea first half the energy it took, the second half we didn’t have that and it is going to catch up because a lot of players are having to double up.

"When we normally have a squad of 23 and two 11’s, we can normally populate every position but we have considerable injuries.

"When we brought in Cameron Jerome and he put in two big shifts, same with Danny Hylton we lost in the warm up.”

When asked for an update about just who could be fit for trip to the Vitality Stadium to take on the league leaders, Jones said: “Both left-backs have been out, Kal (Naismith) has been playing through injury so everyone is putting in such a shift.

"To get the performances and the levels, if we somehow held on then it would have been a phenomenal week.

"It's slightly tarnished with the fact we conceded a late equaliser but I can't fault them because they’ve put in an unbelievable shift.

"To play at Championship level the way that we play, we have a hell of a group.

“We will have to see because it is literally daily.

"I could say yes, we have one available but then something might happen tomorrow and then he could have a reaction.”

Meanwhile, if Jones will dip into the development squad to ensure the Hatters have enough cover against the Cherries, he added: "We know we have the squad, it is just people are coming back in.

"We would like to be full, everyone training, real good options and maximum effort from players, pulling them out for another for them to go again but we can't do that at the minute.

"Luckily we have had a week, if we had to play the Carabao Cup I literally would have had to play the Development squad because it wouldn’t have meant we would have recovered in time.

"It would have been a real hindrance to us but thankfully we have had a week to get into them and more importantly, not to pick up anything more, as it is unprecedented times.”