Hatters boss not playing down 'mouthwatering' Stanley clash

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton chief Nathan Jones won’t be downplaying the significance of today’s ‘mouthwatering’ top of the table clash against Accrington Stanley.

The Hatters go into the game just one point above their nearest rivals in the battle for automatic promotion with victory for the visitors seeing Luton off the top spot for the first time since late November.

Jones said: “It would be silly to play it down, it’s a big game, it’s first v second, it’s a real mouthwatering clash and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve spent the best part of four months at the top of the league, so it’s a test of a few things for us, our character, but I’ve got faith in these players, they’ve got faith in themselves.

“We’re looking forward to the game and it’s why we do this job.”

Although Accrington clearly the outstanding form team in the division winning 10 matches from 12 matches to cut the gap to Luton from 14 points before the turn of the year to just a single point, Jones pointed to the fact that his side have been at the summit for so long as testimony to their efforts throughout the campaign.

He continued: “What we’ve done is just been consistent all year.

“Some people have had really good months, we’ve had good months, we’ve gone I think it’s at least three entire months of the season unbeaten, might even be four.

“We’ve had a real good consistent run, that’s why we’re there, we’re nearly bang on cue for our points tally and that’s all we can do.

“Some had had wonderful runs. Accrington are in wonderful run of form at the moment, we can’t do anything about them.

"Other people are in wonderful runs, we can’t do anything about them. All we can do is try and win our own games and we’re unbeaten in quite a few, we're a difficult side to play against, so that’s all we can affect.”

With a bumper home support expected this afternoon, then should Town achieve their ultimate goal of promotion this term, they will be playing in plenty more high profile fixtures next season, something Jones wants for his side.

He added: “I hope we are and I hope we’re tested next year against Pompey and those people as it means we have gone up.

“It’s a pressure playing for Luton anyway. We’re classed as probably the biggest club in the division in terms of supporters, fanbase, the way we are, and so on, and I’m not being disrespectful to Coventry or anyone like that who have been big clubs.

“But I think we are, and there’s a pressure when it comes to us.

“People want to beat you, then when you go to the top of the league, regardless of who you are, people want to beat you, but then when you’re Luton that’s added again.

“I think the way we play as well adds to the pressure as we ask them to do different things. We ask them to put the ball at risk and we ask them to do different things from normal as it’s easier to destroy than create in any way of life.

“So I think they live with pressure, they have pressure very day, the pressure we put on them to perform and to be Luton Town players, is enough.

“I’m a young manager, the pressure for us to do well and win games is big, but we enjoy that pressure, these are the games you want to play in.

“Yes we want to get promoted and if we did get promoted and there was nothing on the game, we would enjoy that game, but these are the games that properly test you.

“These are the games that you come through and when I was a player I remembered years down the line, these are the ones.”