Town boss Nathan Jones highlighted Peter Kioso’s performance during the 2-0 win at Reading on Wednesday night after admitting the defender hadn’t been desperate to return from his loan spell at MK Dons if he wasn’t going to feature for the Hatters.
The 22-year-old had moved to Stadium MK back in August for what was meant to be a season-long deal, rejoining a club he had been with as a youngster, and made 19 appearances, scoring four goals, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 win at Portsmouth on Saturday.
With James Bree, who had yet to miss a single minute of Championship action this term, not featuring at the Select Car Leasing Stadium due to a tight hamstring, Kioso was thrust straight in for his first second tier action since the 5-0 defeat against Birmingham back in August, when he was replaced after just 28 minutes.
The former Dunstable and Hartlepool player showed no signs of nerves, with a terrific aerial clearance early on, before a thumping header from Royals keeper Luke Southwood’s clearance started the move that saw Town take the lead, Amari’i Bell’s cross diverted into his own net by Tom Holmes.
He remained solid in the second period, almost grabbing a first goal in Luton colours too, with a low shot repelled by the legs of Southwood, as discussing his performance Jones said: “He was excellent and I just singled him out a little bit, him and Elijah.
"Elijah put in as good a centre forward performance as I’ve seen, leading the line, from a young kid, he’s frightening and I thought Peter slotted in superbly well.
"He was enjoying himself at MK and he didn’t really want to come back unless he was going to play.
“He wants to play games, he wants a future, but we needed to recall him and I knew and I had faith in him as I know that he can play in the team, I just want to make sure that he’s progressing on every level and I thought he was excellent.
"It was his header for the first goal, I thought defensively he was excellent, won his headers, defended superbly well, there’s more to come, in terms of in the final third and attacking.
"But to come back from where he’s been, to play at Portsmouth away on the weekend, to put in another performance, he’s had a good week.”
Team-mate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, who is also Kioso’s cousin, didn’t have any doubts that the defender would be able to seamlessly adapt to the step-up in level once more, as he continued: “Listen, I know Pete, he’s a family member, so him slotting in on the pitch is easy for him.
"Luton signed him for a reason, we know he’s a Championship player, obviously he’s gone on loan to Milton Keynes, done very well, come and slotted in fantastically.
"He defended well, his header went into the striker, Clarkey (Jordan Clark) picked up the second ball, picked out Amari'i, own goal.
"I wouldn't say it’s a quality goal, but a goal’s a goal, take it how they come.
“Amari’i's been told to put balls in the box, quality balls, and that’s what he did.
"Elijah said for him to lift it a little bit so he can score, he’s a striker, the defender’s put it in and we’ll take that all day."