Jones insists Luton's trip to Carrow Road is in no way a 'free hit'

Town boss aiming to upset league leaders

Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:50 pm
Luton boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones isn’t considering tomorrow’s trip to table-toppers Norwich City as a 'free hit' by any stretch of the imagination.

The Hatters are huge underdogs to leave Carrow Road with a result, priced as far out as 7/1 to win the match with league sponsors Skybet.

It’s not a great surprise, given that the Canaries are 10 points clear at the Championship summit after Wednesday's victory against fellow promotion chasers Brentford, having won their last six games and tasting defeat just once in 13 league matches.

Although Town are in relatively safety themselves following back-to-back victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest, taking seven points out of nine, Jones won’t be approaching the game any differently, saying: “I’m not naive, we do understand that the expectation is this is going to be a home win, not because of our ineptitude in any way, shape or form, because we've been very good away from home lately.

"Two in the last three we’ve won away from home, so there’s not a problem with that, it’s just they are a very, very good side.

“They are the best side in the league and okay if we were to lose the game, I don’t think there would be uproar, but in-house, we don’t challenge ourselves like that.

“If we were still a League Two side and we were going to Norwich who were a Premier League side, we wouldn't see it as a free hit or acceptable to lose a football match, as we’re now competing on an even keel with Norwich.

“We’re in the same league, how long that is for, I don’t know, but it will be a tough game, but at no stage whatsoever is this a free hit, we can go gung-ho, we can do this, we can do that, absolutely not.

"We are treating the game as a game that is a tough, hard, winnable game.”

Luton have already enjoyed considerable success over their opponents, winning twice at Kenilworth Road this term, both Championship and Carabao Cup encounters finishing 3-1 to the Hatters.

On their recent victories, Jones continued: “To beat Norwich is a fantastic achievement.

"We've done it twice so far this season, albeit in different circumstances for one of the games, but you've got to have belief at this level.

"If we just looked out ourselves and measure everything then we’d never go into a game in the Championship with a great hope of winning, but that's whats brilliant about football, what's brilliant about the group we have here, what's brilliant about this club, that we love pushing forwards.

"We feel like we belong here, we know we belong here, we've proven we belong here and going into a game with Norwich away is fantastic.

"You've got to be at your best, you won’t come away with anything from Norwich if you're not at your best, so that's the challenge for us this week.”

Luton’s game was supposed to be their seventh in a group of 11 matches in just over a month, as Jones had hinted he might have to look at changes to keep his squad fresh for the upcoming fixtures.

That might change with the home outing against Rotherham on Tuesday night now postponed due some Millers players contracting coronavirus, as speaking before that news was announced, Jones added: “You have to take the game on its merits and think what’s going to give us the best chance of winning the game.

"You make decisions on that, you can't look too far ahead, you can't make too many changes, but some changes could be necessary to freshen stuff up, get a bit more impetus as they're putting in big shifts and this is the toughest place in the league to go.

"The toughest place as they’re the best side in the league and that's not opinion, that’s fact, because they're top by a considerable amount of distance.

"So they are the best side in the league, but a great game, what a great game to be preparing for.

"It does make it better that the fact we reacted from Stoke (3-0 defeat) and in the three games we’ve taken seven points so it means were in a good place ourselves.

"So we’re not going there thinking 'wow, this is the league leaders,' we’re thinking, 'yes, this is the league leaders.'”