Home results are key but Jones won't be neglecting Town's away form in bid to stay up

Although Luton boss Graeme Jones knows his side's home form is holds the key to staying in the Championship this term, he doesn’t intend to neglect performances on the road during the run-in.

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 11th January 2020, 8:46 am
Updated Saturday, 11th January 2020, 8:47 am
Hatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Town have taken seven points from their last 12 in front of their own fans, compared to a run of 10 straight defeats in all competitions on their travels.

They have 11 out of 20 games remaining this term at Kenilworth Road, starting with Birmingham City this afternoon, but face two mightily tough trips to top four side Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion later this month.

Despite remaining fully focused on today's clash, Jones knows things have to change away from Kenilworth Road, as he said: “I see them (home games) as really important, but that doesn’t mean to see we’re going to neglect the away performances.

“I need to assess and approach the away performances next week as we’re at home this week and our home form, we’ve taken seven positives results from 12 games.

“I can think of Leeds, West Brom and Swansea where we were really competitive, so we’re talking about 10 competitive performances out of 12, Hull and (Nottingham) Forest, I’m not accepting.

“So we’ve been strong at home, we are now more experienced with the teams that are going to come here.

“With the greatest respect to everybody that’s going to come down, they’re going to be difficult games, but there’s nobody I fear.

“We’ve played Fulham, West Brom and Leeds at home, so the home form and the home opportunities are exactly that and we’ll approach the game that way.

“When we move on to Nottingham Forest next week I think we’ll have to have a completely different look at it.

“I can’t tell you where Nottingham Forest are.

"I know we played them in October and they sat in and played 4-5-1, but my only concentration is on Birmingham and getting the players of this club, everybody available, so at least I’ve got a full strength squad to choose from.

“Then we can approach games in a different way that we’re approaching them at the minute, that’s the reality of the situation.”

With just 20 games to go and up against a side who have been in poor form themselves, winning once in 12, Jones didn’t want to label the contest as a ‘must-in’ encounter.

He continued: “We’ve got 11 home games left, that’s 33 points, I just want to win every game and assess every game on its own merits.

“Because if you’re preparing games now, that’s what they are, they take a week.

“We’ve been doing some games over this period in two days, so every game’s assessed on its own merits, every game has its own challenges.

“You’ve seen the difference between Fulham and Millwall, you’ll the difference with Birmingham and we need to be adaptable enough to be ready.”

A victory for Town would cut the gap to the Blues to just five points, with City having the threat of points deduction hanging over them due to after being charged with breaching financial rules by the EFL.

On ensure another side was dragged into the relegation battle, Jones added: “I just want three points, I don’t care who it’s against.

“The only thing I’m looking at is the next game, as I would be stupid to look ahead to the Forest game, because the landscape changes as well with our players and their players.

“If we can beat Birmingham it obviously pulls them closer, which is what you want, you want more teams down there with you, but I’m just concentrating on the next game.

“They are exactly what we’ve seen in October. He (Pep Clotet, manager) could change it, 4-4-2, they’re robust, Lukas Jutkiewicz is a handful, competitive, (they) press, blah blah blah.

“I think they’re a good Championship team, I think they’re a very, very competitive Championship team, but 26 games in, we all know nothing’s going to be easy.”