Jones can find romance in trip to Heed

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes there is a slight element of FA Cup romance when his side make the long trek to National League side Gateshead this afternoon.

Luton head to the International Stadium to play against the Tynesiders, who are currently 15th in the fifth tier of English football as Jones said: “I called it, but the one thing, there is a bit of romance in it.

I knew we’d get the massive journey, I knew it wouldn’t be in our backyard, but it really is a romantic one.

Nathan Jones

“I played at Gateshead back in 1992 or 93, when I had a year at Merthyr in the Conference, I don’t think it’s changed much, but it’s a fantastic cup tie for both clubs.

“I knew we’d get the massive journey, I knew it wouldn’t be in our backyard, but it really is a romantic one, and it will be a proper test for us and a proper test for them as well.”

Although Jones knows his side won’t be expected to go on and win the competition, he has his aims, with reaching the third round a priority, saying: “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a competition we want to do reasonably well in.

“We’ll have realistic ambitions, we’re not saying we’re going out to win it, yes, we go out to win every game that we’re involved in, but we understand the difficulties in a League Two side winning the FA Cup.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to third round as we’re in the second and we’re competitive. With any team that’s still left in the competition we’d be competitive with, but that means that so are Gateshead.

“They’ll be thinking exactly the same way, and it’s a tricky tie, because of location and so on, and they have good players.

“We’ve watched them, we’ve been very thorough in watching them, yes they’ve had mixed results, but the results go out the window and form goes out of the window a little bit, plus they have good players who can cause you problems.”

Jones will lead his side against a new manager in former Newcastle defender Steve Watson, as on coming up against the former Premier League player. he said: “The’ve had two decent managers, (Neil) Aspin has gone to Port Vale and done well and had an impact there so he must have been doing some sort of good work at Gateshead to get that opportunity.

“In terms of Steve Watson, fantastic pedigree as a player, a legend up there and I remember watching him. I never played against him, I never played at that level myself, so if his team are a reflection of him then they’re going to be a real tricky tie.”

Town will also be facing former player JJ O’Donnell, although Jones added: “We’ve come up against a few of those recently, in terms of Stevenage, playing against their ex club and Wycombe and we’ve had favourable results, so lets hope we can do that again.”