Jones felt his diamond sparkled against Portsmouth

Alan Sheehan heads away against Portsmouth
Alan Sheehan heads away against Portsmouth

Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt Town’s return to the diamond formation proved the right decision during Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Portsmouth.

The Luton chief reverted to the system after playing a front three in recent matches, with Andrew Shinnie back at the tip and Harry Cornick dropping to the bench.

What we do is we work, we looked at Portsmouth and we believed that the diamond would cause them more problems than a 4-3-3.

Nathan Jones

It worked too, as Shinnie was heavily involved in the only goal of the game, crossing for Danny Hylton to tee up James Collins’ instinctive strike, as Jones said: “We work on stuff day in day out, we educate our players, we’re not a sporadic team that goes, ‘oh, maybe we’ll change today.’

“What we do is we work. We looked at Portsmouth and we believed that the diamond would cause them more problems than a 4-3-3.

“They’re a big, strong back four, they changed the left back today, but we felt if we went into the front a little bit earlier that would suit (Matt) Clarke and (Christian) Burgess and people like that.

“So we felt we needed to play between lines, we needed to control the game and I felt we did and it worked.

“I’m pleased as tactically we’re learning, so it shows that we can adapt, but as we keep saying, we’ve got good players.

“I knew we’d give Portsmouth a game, and I’m delighted that we won it.”

Jones was quick to praise his four midfielders involved in the formation too after recalling both Shinnie and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu to play the holding role in Glen Rea’s absence, while Olly Lee produced his best performance in recent weeks.

He continued: “I thought Pelly was excellent in the defensive role, Olly Lee comes stronger in games now in terms of real quality but things he’s doing, breaking forward for chances.

“Luke’s (Berry) added a bit of steel to our diamond and a goalscoring edge and then we know what Shins gives us.

“When he’s at it, he’s above the level, when he’s at it and on it.

“He’s a player that certainly can play and should be playing higher, but we want him playing with us.”

Meanwhile, striker Collins, who was deployed in a front two with Hylton was happy with the changes, adding: “It’s fine, it’s what we started the season with.

“Shins came back in after a good performance Tuesday night and credit to thim as I thought he was excellent.

“It‘s a system we know we, so there wasn’t much thing to think about, it just came naturally and I felt it worked.

“When we stretched the game, Shins got a lot of time on the ball to make things happen and that’s what he’s good at.

“When you’ve got two big dominant centre halves like them two, I think that’s the best way to play.”