Hatters boss: It's a shame to be without Hylton

Luton boss Danny Hylton
Luton boss Danny Hylton

Town chief Nathan Jones admits it will be a shame to go into this afternoon's League One season opener at Fratton Park without talismanic forward Danny Hylton.

The striker, who has finished as the club’s leading scorer for the last two years, misses out due to suspension after seeing red in last campaign’s finale at Notts County.

He has been in excellent form during Luton’s friendlies this term, scoring a hat-trick at St Albans, as Jones said: “There’s a lot of shame synonymous sometimes with Danny Hylton and he’ll be disappointed with certain things, but he’ll be ready to go (against Sunderland next week),

“He’s in great form, he’s been wonderful in pre-season and he’s ahead of where he was last year.

“As this time last year he was recovering, didn’t get any games, it was three or four games into the season before we were able to put him in and then it took him four or five to gather any momentum.

“Right now he’s at it, so he’ll be chomping at the bit when available.”

Hylton was in the side the last time Town went to Pompey, as they were beaten 1-0 on the day, which was overshadowed by Cameron McGeehan’s serious injury after just 20 minutes.

Jones continued: “We were disappointed with the performance, first of all for the first 45 minutes, we didn’t really get going and that allowed Portsmouth to get a foothold in the game.

“It was a lot more even game last year (Luton won 1-0 in the FA Cup) and was a tight game as very few people really turn Kenny Jackett’s side over because of the way they play and the work that Kenny does, the relentless work he does.

“So we know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we go there in good form, go there with a good squad and go there hopefully with a bit of momentum from last year.”

After Portsmouth, Hatters then host Sunderland and travel to West Brom in the Carabao Cup before heading to Peterborough, as Jones knows it’s a tough start to the season.

He added: “It is, you’ve got to play all the top teams and they’ve got to play us, which is what we tend to think about ourselves.

“So it’s a difficult start in terms of the calibre of opposition but they’re all difficult and first games of the season are always different as you saw last year with our game (beating Yeovil 8-2).

“So you never know, you can never gauge who’s going to be in good form early on, but it’s an exciting start and we go into League One with an absolute bang.”

With the game virtually a sell-out Town attacker Harry Cornick can't want to get going, as he added: "Portsmouth away is a good one, a great stadium, their fans are loud, so hopefully we can take a few thousand down there and have scenes like we did against Nott County again.

"If we can keep the support like that every week then I’m sure that’s going to help us in the bid for promotion."