Jones hails Town's 'phenomenal' character after Bradley injury forced another late change at Ashton Gate

Luton chief felt his side should have claimed all three points though

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 18th September 2021, 8:19 am
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 8:20 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones - pic: Gareth Owen
Hatters boss Nathan Jones - pic: Gareth Owen

Luton boss Nathan Jones was eager to praise his side’s 'phenomenal' character as they came through yet another late injury problem in their 1-1 draw at Bristol City on Wednesday night.

Skipper Sonny Bradley was named in the starting line-up at Ashton Gate, only to then not appear as the two teams took to the field, his place going to Kal Naismith.

It was the same on Saturday, Admiral Muskwe selected to face Blackburn Rovers, before he pulled out after the warm-up, Carlos Mendes Gomes taking to the pitch instead.

Both times the Hatters haven’t let the late alteration affect them, claiming two points, as Jones said: “We lost Sonny Bradley in the warm up, everything that can happen to us at the minute is happening to us and the character the group is showing it’s quite, quite phenomenal.

"In training, Kal’s struggling with his groin, really struggling, so we bring Sonny in, but doing set-plays he headed the ball and pulled his hip muscle.

“We gave him an injection, but he pulled out in the warm-up, so we’re having to deal with so, so much at the minute and it’s nothing we’re doing, nothing that can be avoided.

“It’s so, so tough, but it just shows the character and to come here and do that as it’s a beautiful ground, wonderful Championship club, I’m so happy.”

Jones had initially made five changes to his side from the 1-1 draw at Ewood Park, as Tom Lockyer and Luke Berry both started, as did Amari’i Bell and Henri Lansbury, before Naismith took over from Town's captain.

His game-changers were to have a huge impact though, striker Danny Hylton scoring after good work from Elijah Adebayo and Carlos Mendes Gomes, as on why he altered things, Jones continued: “We have to see, we have to test the squad.

"Berry hasn’t featured and come in and scores two on the weekend, Carlos comes in and has a tough baptism on Saturday against a real good right back.

"He comes on today, looked a threat, glided and moved, looked like the player we want him to be.

"A great cross, I'm so happy for him, he failed his driving test on Friday so that might have had something to do with the fact he wasn’t at it Saturday, but the group are great.

"I brought Tom Lockyer in today, Gabe (Osho) was unlucky, but Tom Lockyer was outstanding, Kal outstanding, all of them.

"I'm so proud of the group as they gave me everything, and as a manager that’s all you want because then you’re just judged on your work.”

Although Jones was left elated that his side battled their way to a point courtesy of Hylton’s first goal in almost two and a half years, netting from close range in stoppage time, he did feel they deserved to leave with all three.

The boss added: "We had enough quality, Pelly’s (Mpanzu) chance is brilliant, Cameron’s (Jerome), we had three in a minute in terms of chances.

"I’ll have to regroup as I thought we were excellent, apart from finishing, we were on the front foot, we were the better side, categorically the better side.

"We just lacked a little bit of quality, but we know that we’re not at the top of the Championship in terms of budget and quality, so sometimes we have to structurally do that.

“But that’s the group, that’s what they do.

"We train like that, it shouldn’t have gone until the 90th minute, we should be seeing the game out comfortably, but we weren’t.

"That’s the Championship because Championship sides can punish you, from one chance they can punish you.

"I’m delighted we’ve come away from home, two difficult away games, two points, we’re undefeated on the road this week so I’m very happy with that.

"But bittersweet as I said as there’s a tinge of disappointment we’re not going away from here with three because that’s what our performance deserved.”