Hatters chief confident his side will relish Clarets trip

Town head to Turf Moor this afternoon

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 8:08 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones believes his side will relish the opportunity of going up against one of the favourites for promotion this season in former Premier League side Burnley.

The Clarets saw their stay in the top flight ended last term, relegated on the final day, with a host of their players being sold in the summer, including England international Nick Pope, Irish defender Nathan Collins and winger Dwight McNeil.

Striker Max Cornet became the latest to leave yesterday, joining West Ham for a fee of around £17.5m, while James Tarkowski and Ben Mee both left on frees, but new manager Vincent Kompany has been given funds to strengthen, with Scott Twine and Luke McNally joining from MK Dons and Oxford United respectively.

He has also raided former club Manchester City for CJ Egan-Rile, Arijanet Muric and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, going abroad to bring in Josh Cullen, Vitinho, Samuel Bastien and Manuel Benson.

All of which saw the Clarets begin their campaign with a 1-0 success at play-off finalists Huddersfield Town a week ago, as they are unsurprisingly firmly up there with the bookies in the running for the title.

Asked if it was one of the toughest tests in front of them, Jones said: “Absolutely, the way they are buying in, the calibre of the manager and so on but it’s a Championship game.

"There is no easy game so it will be a real test, but a really good test.

"We like to get tested at this football club because we’ve come through a lot of tests throughout our time here and this is another one.

"It’s going to be massively difficult but it’s going to be difficult for Burnley as well.”

Although Kompany had vast success as a player, winning the Premier League four times when captain at the Etihad, plus playing 89 times for Belgium, he is still relatively inexperienced as a manager.

He was in charge of Anderlecht for just under two years prior to moving to Turf Moor, reaching the Belgian Cup Final last season, but Jones expects his opposite number will do well, as he continued: “I think there is a healthy respect, there is always a respect from me for other managers regardless.

"In 90 minutes a lot of people get misconceptions about certain people’s characters, mine as well, as I’m just very passionate on the sideline.

"There is always respect from me for other managers and I respect the work they do, so on and so forth.

"What others do with us I don’t know but I always make sure I go in and speak to the manager before and after the game because we’re all in the same boat, regardless of our upbringing.

"We all go to bed with the same nerves and apprehension, we all go into games thinking ‘I hope we win today,’ and we all have the same pressures, regardless of club or whatever.

"It is all pressure to win a football game and to be honest, the biggest pressure is what people put on themselves.

"It’s a difficult job so we have to make sure there is a healthy respect there and whether we pick each others brains or have respect for the work, not just the person, is another thing.

"We do and I’m sure he will do a wonderful job there at a club with very good resources for the Championship.”

Town themselves go into the match on the back of a goalless draw with Birmingham City in their opener and on a second viewing, Jones was more than happy with what his side produced on the day.

He added: “I did really feel we had a sharp performance.

"When I watched it back, it’s a really good performance.

"You’ve got to give Birmingham credit because no side has a God-given right to win a game but we did everything we could apart from finish.

"We had some chances, keeper made some good saves, we had some flash past and a clinical edge was all that we needed.

"Sharpness in and around the box was there, our fluency, our set-up play, the way we press, the way we limited Birmingham to very little.

"Set-plays was the only way they could score I felt because they are a threat.

"Sharpness will come I know but from having two weeks less holiday, having a shorter pre-season, I think the performance level was there.

"You can win a game at any point, but if the performance levels are there this early then it bodes well.”