Jones didn't want to risk Campbell as tight hamstring forces midfielder to pull out of Fulham clash during warm-up

Town hit by yet another injury at Craven Cottage

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 10:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:59 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones was hit with yet another injury at Fulham last night
Hatters boss Nathan Jones was hit with yet another injury at Fulham last night

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted there was no point in risking midfielder Allan Campbell after he pulled out in the warm-up ahead of last night’s 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Fulham.

The former Scottish U21 international has been one of the stars of the campaign for Town, voted as the Luton News Player of the Season by supporters for his tigerish display in the centre of the park.

Having started the last 10 league games and 18 out of 19 in total, Campbell had been named on the teamsheet at Craven Cottage, only to complain of an injury before kick-off, his place going to Dan Potts instead.

With one match to go, a home contest against Reading on Saturday where victory for the Hatters would see them into the play-offs, Jones said: “He just felt his hamstring, so we can’t risk him.

"There’s no point risking him for this game as it’s a tough game anyway, and then have him miss next week which arguably, is not more important, but it’s logical what we did, so we had to pull him out, as if we risk him and he pulls something.

"He’s done miraculous, as he’s the one who hasn’t got injured, he’s the one who’s stayed in and done big distances and that’s the position we’re in.”

Campbell’s late withdrawal saw Kal Naismith, who was originally due to start on the left of the back three, revert to the holding midfield role he has been occupying in recent weeks.

The fellow Scot conceded it was tough to make a change so late in the day, saying: “You prepare all week one system then you feel sorry for the gaffer, everyone’s going down and he’s trying to put a system together.

"We work on that plan all week and then Al, who would not complain about an injury let me tell you unless he wasn’t feeling it, so he was feeling something, hopefully he’ll be all right next week, as there was no point rushing him.

"I stepped forward one, Pottsy came in, who did nothing wrong, he just came in against a Fulham side who were exceptional and we were a bit off it as a team, they were on it and they hurt us.”

Campbell’s absence was yet another in a long list of injuries that have decimated the Hatters in recent weeks, with Fred Onyedinma also going off after half an hour with another hamstring problem.

It means that Luton are without nine first-teamers, as their lack of numbers showed, particularly second half, as buoyed by their 2-0 lead, Fulham went on to hit another five to ensure Town’s previously healthy goal difference, took a battering.

Even at the break, Jones had felt his side, who had held the champions to a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road back in December, could get back into it though, adding: “We tried to be aggressive early on and tried to get the next goal, but they got it and they got another one quickly again.

"Ours can feel sorry for ourselves as we’re going down with injuries.

"We played them at home, we watched the game yesterday and we were wonderful.

"We had pace, power, aggression, we’re right up against them, should have won the game, but today, we lose all that, as all my midfield players pretty much are injured.

"Pelly-Ruddock (Mpanzu), Jordan Clark came back today, Allan Campbell’s missing, Gabe Osho, Luke Berry, so the one recognised one we’ve got is Henri Lansbury.

"Then my two front two (Elijah Adebayo and Harry Cornick), all my goals, are missing today.

"You take nine out of the Fulham side, you take (Aleksander) Mitrovic, Harry Wilson, (Fabio) Carvalho, (Tom) Cairney, Harrison Reed, any one of those out of the side, they’re going to struggle.

"That’s what we’ve got, and bearing in mind we’re pretty much bottom budget, so to compete with them is tough.

"Today we got a real lesson, but one magical game (on Saturday) and that’s everything we’ve worked for.”