Jones hails the return of skipper Bradley to Town back-line

Defender yet to concede a goal in his 225 minutes of football this season

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 16th October 2021, 11:07 am
Updated Saturday, 16th October 2021, 11:10 am
Sonny Bradley goes up for a header against Huddersfield
Sonny Bradley goes up for a header against Huddersfield

Town chief Nathan Jones believes the return of skipper Sonny Bradley has helped settle the Hatters down defensively this season.

The captain missed the opening month of the campaign after contracting a serious bout of Covid, making his return in the second half of the 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers.

A hip injury kept him out of the next three fixtures, before he was back in from the start for the home games with Coventry and Huddersfield, Town keeping two clean sheets.

On how Bradley’s availability has aided his side defensively, Jones said: “I think it’s a lot.

“We’ve worked on it, Sonny’s come back, Glen Rea’s come in and that’s what Glen does.

“So it’s about finding the balance of being that aggressive, pressing side with having the balance that you’re not getting caught and having the footballers in there, the ones that can defend properly.

“We’ve probably only had two halves of football, first half against Birmingham and then second half against Swansea, you take those two 45 minutes out of it and we’re as good as anyone defensively.

“It can happen, the Championship can do that to you, it’s a tough league, tough places you have to go to, you can get caught on the hop with certain things.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard, but everyone contributes to a clean sheet.

“Some people come in and settle you down, some people add certain things, but also certain games are conducive to that.

“It happens, and we’re pleased we’ve now got a greater selection to choose from.”

Despite drawing a blank in their last outing, Town have carried a much greater goal threat than last season, already scoring 18 goals in their opening 11 matches.

It’s something Jones was always looking to improve this term, adding: “It’s an evolution process.

“I said that when I first came back, in terms of the first season we needed to get enough points to stay up so that we became a better Championship side.

“There’s no point just trying to be gung ho and going down and then saying, ‘we’re going to be a Championship side.’

"We did that and then we evolved slightly last year, in terms of a slight more aggression in our press, slightly more possession, a little bit more potency, a little bit more ambition if you like.

“Now we’ve again furthered that, so what we have to make sure is we become more rounded.

“We want to be able to press high, we want to be able to defend well and keep clean sheets and we also want to be able to score goals, that’s the holy grail really.

“We did that in the two leagues we came up from and now we’re attempting to do that at Championship level, but the Championship is a tough league.”