Jones: Chelsea FA Cup clash is a 'caviar' tie for the Hatters

Luton boss Nathan JonesLuton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss believes fifth round clash is just reward for the club's fans

Luton boss Nathan Jones has likened this evening’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Premier League giants Chelsea as a ‘caviar’ tie for his team.

The Hatters go up against Thomas Tuchel’s side, who are sitting third in the top flight, the current Champions League holders, and also World Club Cup winners when beating Palmeiras 2-1 after extra time earlier this month.

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Although unable to add the Carabao Cup to their trophy cabinet following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, the Blues will be determined to go one better than last season's competition, beaten 1-0 in the final by Leicester City.

Town are having a fine campaign themselves, climbing up to sixth in the Championship table following a 1-0 win at Derby County on Saturday, but Jones knows it will be a whole new level of opposition that his side are facing tonight.

He said: “This (league) is our bread and butter, you can’t survive on caviar, you have to have your bread and butter.

“Wednesday night is our caviar, if people are looking at that and are thinking that’s where they make their money, it’s not.

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“It’s a bonus game for us, we’re against the Champions League holders, against the World Club Cup champions, it’s a fantastic occasion.

“But I want us to enjoy that as a football club, because we had two fantastic games last year against Man United and Chelsea and no fans could attend, and they missed out.

“So what a great thing. If you had asked any sane Luton fan, that at the first of March, we’d be top six, playing Chelsea in the fifth round at Kenilworth Road with a full house, would you take that?

“I think pretty much everyone would.”

The last round saw Luton defeat League One Cambridge United with a much-altered side, Jones making eight changes in total at the Abbey Stadium,

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With a trip to the Riverside to face fellow play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough on Saturday a far bigger game in terms of importance for Town this term, when asked if that would alter his selection plans, he continued: “Middlesbrough is bread and butter, Wednesday is a bit of caviar and Saturday is the bread and butter.

“We’ll see who is more cut for the caviar and who is more from the bread and butter and we will pick a team accordingly.

“For everyone, the fans, the club, the players, it’s a chance to test ourselves against a wonderful side and they don’t come around very often.

“The position we’re in and where we are, we’re going to enjoy it but we are going to have a right go.”

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Jones also felt the game is a reward for the supporters to truly enjoy following a season without being allowed to go to games due to coronavirus restrictions.

He added: “It is one for the fans.

"The manner in which they supported us through Covid, supported the club and what they did, we really wanted to give them something a little bit different.

“With the greatest of respect, playing against Harrogate and Cambridge was wonderful, a real bit of romance but we wanted a big tie so the fans can see us come up against a big Premier League team.”

With over 10,000 supporters crammed into the stadium, Jones urged his players to use the fans to their advantage, adding: "We’re going to have to.

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"Player for player we’re not as good, as a team we have unity but in terms of everything, they are on a different planet to us at this moment in time.

"Finances, structure, size of the owner and everything, we’re going to have to use every little advantage we possibly can but what we have to do is work.

"We believe in our work and a lot of things will have to come right, it’s a very difficult tie but a great one."