Jones labels Blackburn skipper Lenihan's tackle on Luton midfielder Campbell as a 'season-ending challenge'
Town boss can't believe Rovers captain wasn't dismissed
Luton boss Nathan Jones labelled the horror challenge on midfielder Allan Campbell at Blackburn Rovers this afternoon as a potentially season-ending one.
With just 10 minutes gone at Ewood Park, the summer signing from Motherwell was the victim of a terrible shin-high tackle from Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan, an offence that quite rightly enraged the Hatters dug-out and players, with replays showing the severity of it.
Lenihan was somehow only shown a yellow by referee Oliver Langford, but a distressed Campbell could clearly play no further part, immediately substituted for Henri Lansbury.
Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “Let’s clarify, I know Darragh, I’ve tried to sign Darragh, well my club tried to sign Darragh when I was at Brighton, so I know he’s not malicious in any way, but it’s a terrible challenge.
“It’s season ending, I’m not saying career ending, it’s a season ending challenge.
"If his ankle ligaments don’t go, his leg does, so praise the lord his ankle ligaments went and not his leg as it's a terrible challenge.
“I’ve been in to see the referee very calmly, as they have to see that, because it's a game changing challenge.
"Ten minutes later he (Lenihan) plays a ball inside, they break and score, so it’s an absolutely game changing challenge.
"We lost Jordan Clark the other day to the most horrific challenge at West Brom and then we’ve done it again today, so maybe we’re too nice.”
When asked how Campbell was following the game, Jones continued: “It’s his ankle ligaments, we don't know, we’ll have a scan and see, but he's in a boot.
"Instantly he can’t continue, so we haven't even tried it.
"Take personnell aside, it’s a horrific challenge, it’s over the top, it’s shin high, and all I can say is praise the lord his ankle ligaments went and not his leg because then you're looking at eight, nine months.”
Although Rovers boss Tony Mowbray accepted that last season the incident would have seen his captain sent off, he didn't think it was quite as bad as Jones was insisting, saying: "I’m sure Nathan has been in complaining about Lenihan’s tackle, he’s been moaning enough to me about it, but I was 10 yards away from it, I watched it live.
"Lenihan makes full contact with the ball and his foot goes over the top of it and he catches the lad.
"Last year 100 per cent it’s a red card, this year I don’t think the officials know what they’re doing, how lenient to be, how strong to be.
"They haven’t got the balance right and today it was always going to be that kind of game.”
Campbell’s injury was just the latest of a difficult time for the Hatters which saw Elijah Adebayo, Fred Onyedinma and Amari'i Bell all miss out with various injuries in the build-up to the game, while Admiral Muskwe was named in the starting line-up, only to pull out just before kick-off, Carlos Mendes Gomes starting his first league fixture for the Hatters.
Jones added: “It is tough, but that’s what we’re having at the minute.
"We’ve just had to dig deep today, really dig deep, there's nothing in the coaching manual, nothing in the technical Pep Guardiola school of our result today.
"We had to dig deep, come away from home and show character and endeavour and drive and belief and we did that.
"We showed very little quality in certain elements of our play and if we'd have done that, I think we might have won the game, because Blackburn showed better quality in and around the final third than we did.
"So that’s what we need, but they've been able to spend a hell of a lot of money on that quality, while we've had to develop that quality.
"I'm delighted and really proud of my group as whatever else we go on the bus tonight and at least I know I've got a group that wants to fight and graft and achieve something."