Hatters boss keen to highlight his side's excellent form since returning from enforced Covid break over Christmas

Town on a fine run in both league and cup

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 3:22 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones - pic: Gareth Owen
Hatters boss Nathan Jones - pic: Gareth Owen

Luton boss Nathan Jones believes his side's form since returning following an unexpected and enforced Christmas break should be commended.

The Hatters looked to be gaining some momentum before the festive period, winning 3-0 at Blackpool and drawing 1-1 with leaders Fulham at Kenilworth Road, a match they arguably could have won.

Town then had four matches called off due to Covid outbreaks, which saw them go 29 days without a competitive fixture, returning to host League Two Harrogate Town in the FA Cup on January 9.

They shook the rust off and racked up some goals in a 4-0 triumph, before facing new table-toppers Bournemouth at home, Kal Naismith's last-gasp strike sealing a 3-2 win and his place in the Hatters' history books.

Jones' men then won 2-0 at Reading, went down 2-0 against Sheffield United, but bounce back to beat Bristol City 2-1, also holding automatic promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers to 0-0 draw.

Last Tuesday's trip to Swansea saw Harry Cornick come off the bench to claim all three points, while Luton also reached the FA Cup fifth round by beating League One Cambridge on Saturday.

It means the Hatters won six out of their eight matches, taking 13 Championship points from a possible 18 as well, to close in on the play-offs, now just three points away from sixth spot.

When asked about his side's efforts since their return, Jones said: "It’s a massive thing.

"We didn’t know we were going to have a month break.

"If you know and you can plan, then it might be a lot easier, but we didn’t know that.

“One game got called off, then another got called off and then two got called off.

“So, it was a little bit disjointed, but that’s a credit to all the medical and sport science stuff we have here, the training programme we have, so that we’re able to do it.

“We came out and were nowhere near our best against Harrogate, but we won 4-0.

"You don’t take results lightly in any level that you play at, so to be able to do that, then to go again against Bournemouth and score another three against arguable one of the best sides in the Championship, it just shows that we’ve got real good decent levels.

“I’m very pleased with that, so, yes, we’ve been in good form, but we have to continue that.

“There’s not point being sporadic. We want to have that consistency now."

Although Town have been used to upsetting the big boys at Kenilworth Road in recent weeks, tonight they face a completely different proposition in Barnsley.

The Tykes are becoming marooned at the bottom of the table, already eights points adrift of safety and without a league win in 12 matches.

Jones continued: "We managed to win the game against Bristol City who are below us, we’ve managed to show that against Cambridge, who are in a different league.

“So, it’s not a concerning thing in any way, but it’s about adding consistency.

"It just happened to come about that we’ve had three or four games in the last four home games that, at the time, were either top or second.

“This is a different challenge, but it’s the same mentality from us."

If Town are to register yet another win to their tally this evening, then it will be done in the style which Luton fans are becoming accustomed to, as Jones added: "We’re playing our way now.

"Sometimes we used to change for opposition and think we can match them and outwork them, now, we back our processes.

"It’s pretty much what we used to do at League Two and League One level.

“We’ve had to be a little more pragmatic in the Championship and show that we can compete at the level.

"We’ve evolved nicely, I think. We’ve evolved over time, and now we’re in a position where we are this certain type of team.

“You can always add more quality and a little bit more of something, but we like where we are at the minute.

“We are showing good consistency, we’re in a good position, but we can’t rest on that because the evolution process doesn’t stop.

“You don’t suddenly evolve and then you’ve finished. We have to keep evolving and that’s a long process."