Jones felt Luton skipper Bradley 'fell short of his normal standards' as Hatters are given a 'wake-up call' against Lilywhites

Town manager explains his double substitute at half time on Saturday

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 1st November 2021, 10:56 am
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 10:58 am
Town skipper Sonny Bradley
Town skipper Sonny Bradley

Luton boss Nathan Jones felt skipper Sonny Bradley 'fell short of his usual standards' after taking the defender off at half time during Town’s 2-0 defeat at Preston North End on Saturday.

The Hatters captain had been part of a Luton back-line who were breached on 27 minutes by Emil Riis’s cross-shot that flew beyond Simon Sluga before getting to stoppage time after a disappointing opening period looking to swap ends just a goal behind.

However, Bradley then needlessly slid in on Lilywhites midfielder Ali McCann inside the box, giving away a penalty that Riis converted to make it 2-0 and give the visitors a mountain to climb in the second period.

Jones opted to change formation at the break, moving to a back four, as neither Bradley or holding midfielder Glen Rea appeared after the interval, Admiral Muskwe and Henry Lansbury on in their places.

Explaining his decision, Jones said: “I could have taken anyone off but what we needed to do was have an element of control in it and Kal (Naismith) is very good in possession, so we felt we would have built from that.

"Sonny fell short of his normal standards in terms of aggression, going and winning the ball and front-footedness as a lot of balls bounced and were causing a bit of confusion.

"So I felt okay, we’ll take one of the defenders off and get another attacker on, but we huffed and puffed without being anything

"You thought being fifth in the league, with a real chance of establishing ourselves that we would have been right at it and it's a little bit of a wake-up call.

"It doesn’t do you harm sometimes, as long as that doesn't continue.”

Fellow defender Naismith, who took the armband in Bradley’s absence believes his team-mate will bounce back quickly from the disappointment, adding: “He’s been outstanding.

"I think the record speaks for itself since he’s come back in, not just his voice and his leadership skills, but on the pitch, the clean sheet record is the best in the league, I don’t know if it still is after today, but he’s a massive part of that, as is everyone.

"The forward players, the way we press, the way we do stuff, and he’s been tremendous.

"He’ll be disappointed with the challenge, but there’s challenges made all over the pitch that are slightly off and that’s football, you’ve got to go again."