Jones: Five changes against Boro were made for tactical reasons

Luton chief explains his reasoning behind the team selected in midweek

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 11:42 am
Gabe Osho was one of five changes made by Luton on Tuesday night
Gabe Osho was one of five changes made by Luton on Tuesday night

Hatters boss Nathan Jones confirmed that the majority of the five changes he made for Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough were down to ‘tactical’ reasons.

Following on from a disappointing display at Preston North End on Saturday, a number of alterations to Town’s starting line-up were expected, although maybe not quite as many, with striker Elijah Adebayo back in after recovering from a tight hamstring.

He was joined by Dan Potts, Reece Burke, Henri Lansbury and Gabe Osho, with Cameron Jerome and Glen Rea dropping to the bench, while Tom Lockyer, Jordan Clark and Amari’i Bell missed out completely.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “Amari’i Bell picked up a dead leg, so he was missing, but the others were tactical changes.

“Not because they played badly, because some people who played badly Saturday still kept their place, but we just picked a side that we felt was going to be athletic, was going to match and go beyond Middlesbrough, because they are athletic, they go man to man, and then to win the game.

“Tactically I thought we were really good tonight.

“We made a slight tweak at half time, we made another one with bringing Fred (Onyedinma) on and I thought we were well worth it, second half I thought we were excellent.

“From a really poor performance at Preston to a wonderful performance tonight.

“That had to be built because they go man for man and they’re very difficult to play against, so we had to grind that down.”

Having Adebayo back and leading the line for Town made a huge difference, as he led the line with an increasing maturity and bagged an eighth goal of the season on the hour mark, firing under Luke Daniels to make it 2-1.

Jones continued: “He’s had a weeks rest so we expect him to be fresh.

“We could have taken him to Preston but we felt the journey up there would have been detrimental to his hamstring.

“So rather than flog him, we trusted the squad and then he’s come back in tonight fresh and we got our just rewards.”

One who did keep his spot, despite going off at half time during the 2-0 defeat at Deepdale on Saturday, skipper Sonny Bradley, didn’t feel there was any concerns about going into the fixtures with such a heavily changed line-up.

He added: “I don’t think so, we’ve got experienced players that have come in.

“Elijah’s come back in, Henri and Gabe, Pottsy as well, full of experience and they know the system.

“They’ve been around the squad over the last six weeks, so they’re well capable of what they need to do.

“I never had any doubts of the players who came in, never had any doubts on the formation, it was just about having the right attitude and starting the game well.

“We didn’t start the game too well, but we had enough experience to fill in and we’ve got a good squad, we’ve got a very, very good squad of players.

“Even my own position at central defence, there’s real competition for places, which I think is healthy.”