Hatters full back out of Peterborough opener but defensive trio are in a 'far better place'

Centre halves are in line for a recall against the Posh

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 6th August 2021, 5:22 pm
Town defender Dan Potts is out of tomorrow's Championship opener
Town defender Dan Potts is out of tomorrow's Championship opener

Luton will be without full back Dan Potts for their opening Championship clash of the season at home to Peterborough United tomorrow.

The 27-year-old, who signed a new contract at Kenilworth Road in the summer, had featured in a number of Town’s pre-season games, before picking up a hamstring injury in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton & Hive Albion.

Boss Nathan Jones confirmed that although it will keep him out of the clash with the Posh, he has options available, saying: "Potts is someone that it’s probably come too quick for him.

"It’s a thing with his hamstring which wasn’t serious, but it’s not one that we’d risk for tomorrow.

"We’ve got real, real good options in that position, left side, with Kal (Naismith), Amari’i (Bell) and so on, depending on the shape we play.

"Even people like Fred Onyedinma played the majority of last season at left wingback, so we’ve always got those options to do that.”

New signing Amari’i Bell is now back for the Hatters after his spell away with Jamaica in the Gold Cup that saw them reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by eventual winners USA.

On whether the former Blackburn and Fleetwood full back is ready to be put straight in, Jones continued: “He had a week with us before and then went away to the Gold Cup, played and trained every day, so he’s had his own pre-season away from us.

"Then he came back with us for 10 days now, so he’s match fit, he’s played plenty of games, he’s a wonderful athlete and if he’s needed tomorrow then he’s ready.”

The defence was most heavily hit for the final pre-season outing against Brighton last weekend with Sonny Bradley, Tom Lockyer and Reece Burke all absent for a variety of reasons.

It meant that Naismith and Glen Rea were began in a makeshift centre half pairing, with both Gabe Osho and Peter Kioso also used as the afternoon wore on.

Jones had spoken after about the disruption caused to his squad during pre-season, but remains confident they are in as good a place as any of the other second tier clubs, adding: "They're (defenders) all a lot closer to where they were last week as we didn’t want to risk anyone in a pre-season friendly.

"We tried something, but we’ve got another good week into them now and we're in a far better place than we were a week ago.

"We haven’t been really hampered, what we've been is, it’s been a bit disjointed at times as people are at different levels, but pretty much every club are, people are like that.

"People have had certain things, internationals coming back, a couple of injuries, Covid is around, so there’s no getting away from it.

"Everyone is probably at different stages, but what we have done is we have managed to get pretty much 98 per cent of our squad in really, really early, so it hasn't hampered us as such, it’s just been a touch disjointed, but everyone’s at a real, real good level.

"People are at different stages, some are really flying, some have had six weeks of proper work, some have had three or four, but that’s the way it is.

"That’s the same with pretty much every pre-season, it’s just it’s heightened this year with the pandemic."