Jones happy with decision to rotate his squad during Pools victory

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones felt his decision to use his squad worked to a tee against Hartlepool on Tuesday night.

The Hatters chief opted to rest skipper Scott Cuthbert, with Johnny Mullins coming back in, while Jonathan Smith was dropped to the bench as well.

Lawson D'Ath delivers a cross on Tuesday night

Lawson D'Ath delivers a cross on Tuesday night

On his selection, Jones said: “They were rested, both pulled out because they had played a lot of football.

“Scott Cuthbert cramped up in the game before and what we didn’t want to do, especially with the squad we’ve got, is flog him again.

“Because we’ve been able to do that, make key changes at times, and that’s why we have not far off a fully fit squad.

“There’s no muscular injuries now, and we’ve had very few this season. That’s due to the training we do and all the preparation work we do.

Scott didn’t want to come out, but for the good of the team and the longevity of the squad, it was right that we pulled him out.

Nathan Jones

“Scott didn’t want to come out, but for the good of the team and the longevity of the squad, it was right that we pulled him out.

“We explained to Scott, he wasn’t happy about it, but that’s what we expect.

“Then Smudge was exactly the same. He had a cut on his foot, played through pain, we felt it was an opportunity the other night, without taking the game lightly, to use our squad.

“We used our squad very well, won the game, and we go again Saturday.”

Midfielder Lawson D’Ath came in for his full home debut, playing just over an hour before being replaced by Smith.

When asked about the ex-Northampton player’s wait to start at Kenilworth Road, Jones continued: “He’s not taken time to adapt, it’s difficult when you come in in January.

“It will take time because the ones we have here are good players anyway, and know the system, know the shape, know how we work and so on.

“So rather than just throw them in and say ‘you’ve got to learn on the job,’ we’ve got a good enough squad that we can so ‘no, sit out for a little bit, have a look what we do.’

“I thought Lawson was excellent for about 45-50 minutes Tuesday night then he ran out of steam a little bit and that’s when we made the change.

“So you can see what he’s got. I know him, I’ve played with him and he was involved in an excellent side last year. He’s got pedigree as well, so we’re delighted with that.”

Meanwhile, full back Stephen O’Donnell also retained his place ahead of James Justin, but came in for plenty of criticism from supporters during the match and on social media afterwards, as he struggled badly throughout the evening.

On the treatment of the defender by the home crowd fans, Jones added: “Criticism’s part and parcel of being a player, I must have played 10 of my 23 years under pressure in terms of scrutiny, so people can have that.

“Not everyone is everyone’s cup of tea, but we’ve brought him back in for three games and we’ve had three wins, so he must be doing something right.

“We’ve got good players and good competition here and when they’re doing well, they’ll get opportunities.

“I stand and fall by my own team selections, so if the crowd want to have a go at anyone, have a go at me.”