Hatters boss insists youngster Pettit is right to see a pathway at Luton after midfielder heads to Lewes on loan
The teenager, who moved to the club as a 15-year-old, following spells with West Ham United and Millwall, joined Isthmian League Premier Division side Lewes FC on an initial one-month loan at the weekend to experience senior football for the first time.
He was an unused substitute for the 2-2 draw against Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday, with 1,019 in attendance as the hosts were pegged back after moving 2-0 in front through Joe Taylor’s double.
Speaking recently, Pettit, who has captained Town's development squad on a number of occasions this season, had been open to a loan move, but was also happy with his progression at Kenilworth Road, and could see a route to becoming a first team player and follow in the footsteps of James Justin, who came through the ranks.
Jones felt he was right to think that way too, saying: “He’d be blind not to, as they train with us regularly, if they do well, they step up, train and get exposure to first-team football.
"They’ve seen in the past that there is a pathway into the first-team if you want it and you want to work hard.
“The good thing has been since I first came in and we had James Justin, Frankie (Musonda), Akin (Famewo), Tyreeq (Bakinson) and Freddie Hinds, we were a League Two side then.
"Now we’ve stepped up and we want to be a real progressive, proactive, top Championship side.
“That means for younger players, the pathway is still there, but the standards go up.
"They have to adjust or get to the level very, very quickly, if they can do that.
“To all intents and purposes, in 2016/17, a lot of our younger players might have played in our first-team by now because of the level.
"But now, the squad’s so strong, so competitive, that it’s not more difficult, but their standards have to be better.”
Pettit is one of a few Town youngsters have got first team exposure at the Brache this season, and has impressed when doing so too, as Jones added: “Him and Ed McJannet have trained regularly (with the first team), Avan Jones (on loan at St Albans) trains regularly with us and we’ve had plenty that have stepped up to train with us.
“They’ve trained continually over Christmas with us so they’ve had really good exposure.
"It will only do them good, either when they go back down, or if they stay in the group. I’m very pleased with them.”