Luton boss Nathan Jones described Glen Rea’s performance as ‘outstanding’ after the midfielder reached his 200th appearance for the club during the 5-0 win over Coventry City last night.
The 27-year-old had been restricted to just 71 minutes in the Championship in his four outings this term, unable to break into the side with summer signings Allan Campbell and Henri Lansbury often preferred. plus Gabe Osho as well.
However, with the Hatters on a run of six games without a victory, Jones opted to bring in the former Brighton player for his first league start of the campaign, having signed the ex-Ireland U21 international from the Seagulls on loan initially in March 2016, before making the move permanent that summer, becoming a vital part of the side's promotions from League Two to the second tier.
With Rea in his favoured holding role, he gave a first class display of exactly what is required in that position, flying into some early challenges to let the Sky Blues know he was there, before winning his headers and maintaining possession as well, going on to gain five interceptions on the night too, the highest out of any wearing an orange shirt.
Speaking about his recall, Jones said: “Along with everyone else he was outstanding, but I’m very proud of him as when I need a clean sheet I usually go to Glen Rea.
“Hopefully we’ll have many, many more with that performance, but I’m proud of the group.”
Rea was one of three alterations Jones made to the side following a 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday, with captain Sonny Bradley starting a first game of the season after his battles with Covid and a hip injury, Amari’i Bell back too.
Jones continued: “Reece Burke had a funeral yesterday, so we went with Sonny and Sonny’s come back in with limited minutes.
“Now we’re getting Allan Campbell back in the squad, we get five more back after the international break, so it’s suddenly looking a little bit better.”
With Kal Naismith also excelling and Tom Lockyer dominating the City forwards, it allowed Town to go on and earn a fourth clean sheet of the season, as Jones added: “What we did was what we didn’t do in the Swansea game as we had a bit more freshness.
"We took the sting out of the game, kept the ball better, as Swansea dominated the ball late on and we couldn’t get out, because they were dead on their feet because of two away journeys, third game in a week and so on, so forth.
"That wasn’t the case this time, I thought we were magnificent and I’m really proud of the performance as from minute one to minute 92, it was as good a performance as you’re likely to see.”