Jones confirms Mendes Gomes is going nowhere in January as he insists the 'time will come' for former Morecambe star

Winger is impressing Town chief during training

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 2:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 2:28 pm
Town attacker Carlos Mendes Gomes

Luton boss Nathan Jones has poured cold water on any notion that Carlos Mendes Gomes will be leaving Kenilworth Road on loan during January, stating that the summer signing’s ‘time will come’ for the Hatters.

The 23-year-old joined Town for an undisclosed free from League Two Morecambe back in June, but despite catching the eye with some thrilling performance and excellent goals during pre-season, has yet to be given an opportunity to hit those heights in Luton’s Championship campaign.

He has made just one start, that only coming due to a late injury for Admiral Muskwe before kick-off at Blackburn Rovers, with another five appearances from the bench, his last in the goalless draw with Huddersfield on October 2.

Jones admitted he has had a number of enquiries about Mendes Gomes’ availability when the window opens, but firmly denied he would be leaving, saying: “Carlos will be a good player for us.

“We’ve had many people ring us up saying ‘we can see he’s not had much game time, will he be available?’ And it’s categorically no, we know the plan we have for Carlos.

“Carlos will go nowhere, Carlos will feature for us and we know that, we believe in that.

"It’s a process involved and hopefully that process will now start coming to fruition.

Jones did accept the winger, who was one of the stars for his former club last term as they won promotion to League One, scoring 16 goals, including the play-off final winning penalty against Newport County, might have been frustrated by his lack game=time.

However, he revealed the work being done on the training ground has put the Senagelse-born attacker in the best position to really make an impact when he is let loose on the second tier.

Jones continued: “He might have an element of frustration but Carlos’s time will come, Carlos’s time will come.

"He’s really been improving physically, he’s ready for the level now, so sooner or later you will see Carlos and hopefully, we won’t then see him take a backwards step and be bit part.

"As we’ve had to work with him, had to put him in and bring him out, had to work with him in terms of behind the scenes, so now when he gets his opportunity, we want him to take that and not look back.

"In training, he’s definitely shown that he has (improved) and in training he’s definitely stepped up to the mark, so we’re very pleased with him.

"We’ve got a very strong squad, especially in those front ones, with himself, Fred (Onyedinma) and (Admiral) Muskwe, three new players that are really potent, that can really hurt players and there’s good competition with those.

“We’re happy with where Carlos is.

"We would’ve liked it to have happened in a month, but it’s not going to, realistically.

"If it did, then he should never have been playing at the level he was anyway.

“He’s had a meteoric year with Morecambe, who are a well-drilled and structured side under Derek Adams.

"He got promoted in that and scored goals, so now he steps up to a team that wants to be very competitive at Championship level, with a real good, athletic squad.

“So, he suddenly goes from being a really special talent in one team, to being a talent akin to everything else we have.

"He’s in a good place and whether he starts on Saturday (against Blackpool), or it takes him until Christmas or January, where he gets a real run in the side, whenever it does, it’ll be the right decision.”

Jones has already proven that he is well versed at turning League Two talents into bona fide Championship players with the manner in which Elijah Adebayo has adapted to the step-up since his arrival from Walsall during the January transfer window.

The Town boss believes that Mendes Gomes can look to that example as proof that the plan will work for him too, adding: “I hope so, he would’ve had a number of clubs he could’ve gone to, Carlos, but he chose to come to us because of the pathway, now we have to back that pathway up.

“When I met Carlos, I said some things that we would put in place for him to be the best he can be, and he has to step up to that.

"How quickly he gets to that level depends on Carlos and the trust we put in him.

“He has to earn that, so we’re in a good place with Carlos. It might take him slightly longer than we would’ve liked, but we’re in a good place.

“He’s just had to fit into our structure, in terms of what we want, the aggression we want and so on. He’s doing that and he’s up to speed and he’s very, very close.

“With Elijah, we kept him back a little bit but we felt we couldn’t hold him back any more.

"We put him in against Millwall and he came with a real bang, so those are the impacts we’re looking for.

“We know that we can’t just take 11 players from the lower leagues and put them into a successful Championship side.

"We had a fantastic result against Millwall recently with just one new player, Amari’i (Bell)was the only player not around from last year.

"So it shows that the new players have to step up to the level we are, and, when they do step up, then others need to step up again and that’s what’s been happening.

"Invariably, the level goes through the roof.

"At the minute, it’s very difficult to say that because we’re on our worst run, in terms of no wins in four, but that will change.”