Jones hugely encouraged by Town's strength in depth

Jack Stacey breaks forward against Peterborough on Tuesday night
Jack Stacey breaks forward against Peterborough on Tuesday night

Luton boss Nathan Jones was massively enthused by the way his much-changed side ran League One promotion hopefuls Peterborough United so close in the Checkatrade Trophy third round on Tuesday night.

The Hatters only kept Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in from the team which took to the field at Newcastle United in the FA Cup on Saturday, while Posh stuck with nine of the side who knocked Championship giants Aston Villa out of the same competition.

Although beaten on penalties after the game finished goalless, Jones felt the manner in which side performed against an opponent just two points outside the play-offs in a higher division was hugely encouraging, saying: “I thought it was a real good, entertaining game, I really did.

“We took on a side that’s promotion hopefuls from League One, they came here with their strongest side, we’ve made 10 changes and we’ve been more than a match for them, so it’s pleasing.

“We want to test the squad, the squad got tested and I thought they came through it with flying colours.

“We’ve been tested by a real good League One side and I’m delighted to know that the my squad is right at it.

“We have competition all throughout. If one of the full backs goes down, we’ve got two full backs there, the centre halves were good, I thought Lawson (D'Ath) and Pelly were far, far better than when we were at Port Vale the other day.

"Then we had a sharpness upfront, without actually scoring, we looked like we were going to score and that’s the only frustrating point from us because we don’t often go 0-0.

"But on the whole, we’ve taken on higher league opposition with 10 changes and we’ve been excellent on the night.”

With Peterborough possessing former Hatter Jack Marriott, who is the second leading English scorer behind Tottenham's Harry Kane this term, and Town scoring a hatful of goals themselves, then few would have expected the stalemate they witnessed.

It was still a thoroughly entertaining affair though, as Jones continued: “I thought we had a lot of good chances second half, and we didn’t quite do enough.

“We’ve hit the post first half, they’ve had a couple of chances, fair play to them, but look at the strikeforce they’ve got.

“Jack’s been on fire for them, so to keep him quiet shows that we’ve done well and they’ve had to do well to keep us quiet, as we’re one of the highest scorers in English football.

"They’re a good attacking side as well, so you never would have bet on a 0-0, but I thought we were excellent, considering the changes we made, it just shows the strength in depth that we’re able to do that.”

Jones lined up with a new-look 3-4-3 formation too, using Frankie Musonda, Alan Sheehan and Akin Famewo in defence, as on his move away from the diamond or 4-3-3 he usually opts for, the boss added: “It kind of suited our personnel more than anything.

"If I’d had different personnel available then I would have gone to our normal one, but because we had those three centre halves available it would have meant I would have had to play someone from Saturday, which I didn’t want to do.

"It meant I could make those changes, so that was more natural for us, and I thought it worked well.

"I thought they were excellent, they defended well and their front three is a real threat in terms of (Danny) Lloyd, (Marcus) Maddison and Marriott, so we knew they were going to need some containing.

"But I thought we were excellent, we’ve hit the post had some real good opportunities second half, could have won it right at the end with Josh McQuoid, and I just said, a little bit more conviction from our finishing and we would have.

"But I’m pleased generally because we’ve been properly tested and for me the bigger thing about it, is it just shows the strength we have.”