Jones: It's bonkers that we're not allowed to make five substitutions

Luton chief left disappointed by rule change

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 6:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 6:30 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has labelled the decision to do away with the five substitutes rule as ‘bonkers’ this reason.

The Hatters host Premier League giants Manchester United in the Carabao Cup third round at Kenilworth Road this evening, in their fifth match of a campaign that only started on September 5.

They will have have played six games in 21 days when heading to Watford on Saturday, potentially having another fixtures next Tuesday night should they shock the Red Devils this evening.

Town do have a fortnight off after hosting Wvcombe Wanderers on October 3, but then go into a sequence of seven matches in 22 days once more, ahead of the next international break.

When the season resumed following lockdown, clubs had the capability to make five substitutions during a game, but that was voted out 11 to 9 by the Premier League back in August, much to the annoyance of Jones.

He said: “You can’t change the rules, unless there’s a valid reason, football’s the best game in the world, so you don't change the rules.

"But we've just been through a pandemic, people have cut budgets, squads have got smaller, the timescale between games have got shorter, the demand for games has got greater, so it’s (five subs) sensible.

"I think it’s bonkers they didn’t do it, but in their wisdom and they are far more wise than I am, apparently, they went the other way.

“I’m absolutely devastated that there’s not five subs as I think we’ve got a wonderful bench, I think we’ve got as strong a bench as there is in the league, with the desire to come on.

"We’ve got a strong squad and it’s a humble squad that wants to work hard, really wants to achieve something.

"I know that we’ve got game changers and I’m actually gutted as I think that was the wrong decision not to have five subs, because I think it was one of the innovations after lockdown that really, really worked.

“I know they wanted to go back to normal as much as possible, but the games evolved a bit,.

"The backpass rule went out and it made a massive difference. They definitely should have got rid of the drinks breaks as they weren't drinks breaks, but in terms of five substitutes and being able to use nine subs, I think it just enables you to use the squad better.

"You can make decisions, you have game-changers and it keeps the whole squad involved.

"We were big advocates of that, regardless of how big the squad is, if you’ve got a 20-man squad you can fill a bench and I think it was a wonderful opportunity to give younger players experience.

"I really believe we have an excellent bench, a hungry, motivated bench which isn’t always the key in some teams, so I’m really, really disappointed to see that go.”

It was the same for Town skipper Sonny Bradley as well, who stated: “From our point of view we’d have liked to have kept more subs and get more subs on the pitch.

"I think that would have been a better thing to do, especially with the amount of fixtures that are going to have to be played in a short period of time.

"I think we’ve got a brilliant bench, even if Kaz (Kazenga LuaLua) comes on for 10-15 minutes, you feel like he’s going to create something, or get a chance.

"But it’s not to be and we’re happy with our squad as we’ve brought in some real quality."