Hatters chief eager to play in front of Town supporters again at Hitchin

Luton visit Top Field this afternoon

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 9:14 am
Updated Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 9:18 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones is relishing the prospect of his team playing out in front of fans again when they head to Southern Premier Division Central side Hitchin Town for their opening pre-season friendly this afternoon.

The Hatters last ran out to their supporters back on December 12, when 2,000 were allowed inside Kenilworth Road for the 3-0 win over Preston North End.

With coronavirus restrictions then swiftly reintroduced by the government, it meant Town finished the rest of the campaign to empty stadiums.

However, even with a limited capacity being allowed in to Top Field today, there should be just under 1,500 present, as Jones said: “I’m delighted for Hitchin because they are a good partner that we have so they will reap the benefits.

“We have a great following who haven’t watched live football for a while so it will be a nice occasion, plus it will add a little bit of competitiveness to the game.

“There is nothing better than a warm day in July when you can come and watch your team, have a beer or a soft drink, whatever you’re drinking and enjoy your football.

“It has been solely missed for the last year and it will be good to have them back because football without fans is very, very different.”

Those in attendance could well see six of Luton’s summer signings in action with Fred Onyedinma, Reece Burke, Henri Lansbury, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Cameron Jerome and Allan Campbell all expected to get minutes.

Amari’i Bell is away on international duty, while Joe Morrell, Tom Lockyer and Simon Sluga are all missing too, as Jones added: “We’ll start off with 45 (minutes) each, build it up, 60s, 75s, 90s and then you’re ready for the season, but 45 it will be.

“We have a structured pre-season, it’s six weeks, we work back from game one, the Peterborough game and that's how we prepare.

“It doesn’t change, hasn’t changed since I’ve become a manager and we’ve got a decent track record of doing that.

“They’ve had quite a bit of time off, six weeks off which is in recent years, that’s been quite a lot of time, so we’re in a decent place.

“But it’s a structured pre-season, we started off, we built, we’ve had a really good week, probably more intense than we would have liked as they’ve come back in real, real good shape and the bit between their teeth.”