Jones feels there is plenty more to come from ever-present Hatters defender Bree

Full back has made a fine start to the Championship campaign

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 18th October 2021, 2:14 pm
Town defender James Bree
Town defender James Bree

Luton defender James Bree is still nowhere near achieving his true level according to boss Nathan Jones despite what has been an impressive start to the season from the full back.

The 23-year-old gave another excellent performance during the 2-0 win at Millwall on Saturday and is one of just two outfield players along with Kal Naismith who have played every minute of Championship football so far, with 12 appearances to his name.

It’s a world away from last term when Bree, who had struggled during his initial move on loan to Kenilworth Road from Aston Villa under previous manager Graeme Jones, then caught the eye once he left and the Welshman returned in the coronavirus pandemic, looking a different player as Town stayed in the Championship.

The former Barnsley and Aston Villa defender was expected to kick on last year, but the lack of a pre-season led to a number of persistent injuries throughout the course of the campaign which meant it took until April 21, Luton's 42nd game of the season, to make 12 starts for the Hatters.

He equalled that stat at the weekend and on the full back's efforts so far this term, Jones said: "We believe that James Bree can attain a certain level and that is why we brought him here permanently.

"I’m very pleased he is ours, there is really good competition in that place but he’s playing well at the minute.

"He is nowhere near his level, where he can attain and what he can achieve so that is what we have to strive to do, as they all are doing.

“It helps that he had a pre-season.

"Anyone last year that didn’t have a pre-season with us struggled.

"Tom Lockyer joined late and was a little bit stop-start for a real period so it is one of those things.

"With all the best-made plans, I always ask the board and the club ‘can we do our recruitment early, can we identify those players and sign them as soon as possible?'

"The board always try and back us on that and with Bree last year, it took a while to get him in so he was always on the back foot.

"But now he has had a full pre-season and I think anyone who has had a full pre-season is reaping the benefits.”

Bree had a big part to play in Harry Cornick’s first goal on Saturday, as his burst to the loose ball in an advanced area, helped Jordan Clark go through and tee up Luton's in-form attacker to hammer Town in front.

With the Luton boss well-known for his desire to see full backs have an impact both going forward and defensively, Jones added: “He has wonderful quality and we want to see more and more of that.

"I think it is the way we play that suits an attacking full-back, whatever formation that is we ask our full-backs to be very important so he’s doing well at the minute.

"I want him to continue that and add even more quality to a relatively consistent period.”