Jones baulks at suggestion Luton's clash with Reading is the easiest final day for the Championship play-off chasers

Hatters boss Nathan Jones gives out instructions during Luton's defeat at Fulham on MondayHatters boss Nathan Jones gives out instructions during Luton's defeat at Fulham on Monday
Hatters boss Nathan Jones gives out instructions during Luton's defeat at Fulham on Monday
Town chief knows Royals will be a stern test

Luton chief Nathan Jones visibly baulked at the suggestion his side have the easier end of season game out of all the sides chasing a Championship place tomorrow.

The Hatters take on a depleted Reading side who have nothing to play for barring pride, as the Royals will finish a disappointing campaign in 21st place no matter what the final score is in Bedfordshire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Town’s fellow competitors for a top six berth, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Millwall, have, on paper, the tougher tests in front of them.

The Blades host champions Fulham, as Boro go to Preston North End, another side who are playing for pride, although they could move up to 11th with victory, with Millwall going to Bournemouth, Scott Parker’s men securing their promotion back to the Premier League on Tuesday night.

However any thoughts that Luton had the ‘nicer’ game ahead of them, were instantly rejected by Jones, who said: “Woah, woah, woah, it couldn’t be worse.

"It couldn’t be a nicer one? No, no, no, absolutely not.

“There are four teams for two spots, all those teams are playing sides that theoretically will have nothing to play for.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Fulham are champions and they’ve got Sheffield United. In theory they should be on holiday.

“Bournemouth have already got promoted, Millwall should win the game because Bournemouth would have been out all week.

“Preston are on holiday looking at next year, it should be an easy one for Middlesbrough.

“Reading exactly the same, so all four, there is no easy game in the Championship, no easy game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Theoretically, no, you can stick theoretically, because this isn’t theoretically, this is the last day of the Championship in England.”

Town will take on a side who have former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Ince in interim charge, the ex-Blackburn boss taking over in February following the sacking of Veljko Paunovic and ensuring their will be second tier football at the Select Car Leasing Stadium once more next term.

Whether that will be with at the helm is yet to be confirmed as the Luton boss continued: “I am really good friends with Paul.

"I did my A Licence and Pro Licence with Paul, while Tom (Ince), was a player I looked after as well so I’m good friends with him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He’s not going to do me any favours, I have no idea what he wants to do in the future, cliché or whatever, all I can do is look after my own team.”

With all games kicking off at 12.30pm and the Hatters live on Sky, although Jones’ full attention will be on matters unfolding in front of him, with Town knowing a win will be enough to finish in the top six, he will obviously be keeping abreast of scores elsewhere, adding: “Late on if you’re drawing the game and that’s enough or if you need a goal, it’s natural, everyone all around will say.

"For a manager to say no is futile as if you’re drawing and a draw is enough then you’re not going to go gung-ho trying to win the game and exposing yourself, with the greatest of respect.

“If you need a goal but you’re thinking ‘we’re okay here’ then of course you’re going to be a bit more forceful and your substitutions will be positive, so we will.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But realistically if we win the game it doesn’t matter, and that is what we have to try and do.

“If we win no matter what happens anywhere else that’s us.

“It’s an important game, it really is.

"We underplay it as just another game and we treat it as just another game, but the importance of it is different.

“There’s no second chances, it’s a one-off game, we know what we have to do."