Jones left shocked by the 'frightening' amount of injuries Luton are suffering

Boss has another three players pull out of Blackburn clash

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:29 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:30 pm
Town boss Nathan Jones celebrates his side's 2-2 draw at Blackburn

Town boss Nathan Jones has been left shocked by the manner of Luton's injury problems suffered in the early stages of the Championship season.

After being without seven players for the goalless draw against Sheffield United before the international break, hopes were high among the Town camp that they would have a near enough full squad to pick from for the trip to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

However, that wasn't to prove the case once more, Amari’i Bell and Fred Onyedinma both forced out late on, while Elijah Adebayo was declared unavailable on the morning of the game after feeling unwell during the previous evening.

Then, attacker Admiral Muskwe, named in the starting line-up for the match, pulled up just moments before kick-off, as Carlos Mendes Gomes had to come in at incredibly short notice to make his first start in the second tier.

To make matters even worse, after 10 minutes, midfielder Allan Campbell limped off with expected ligament damage following an awful challenge from Rovers skipper Darragh Lenihan, who only saw yellow for the offence, replaced by Henri Lansbury.

Speaking afterwards, a bemused Jones, whose side went on to draw 2-2 after trailing 2-0 at half time, courtesy of Luke Berry's stoppage time equaliser, said: “Absolutely nothing prepares you for what we’ve been through in the last 24 hours, in terms of we work for two weeks on a certain thing, and then we lose two at the hotel last night, well, one at the hotel last night, early on in the morning.

“We then lose someone in the warm up, we then lose someone to an absolutely terrible challenge in the first 15 minutes, so we’ve had to go through some real adversity and it’s rocked us.

“One minute to three (Muskwe pulled up), so we can’t get any later than that without making a substitution, and that’s been symptomatic of us at the minute.

“We’ve always had a 95 per cent availability rate with our players, but this has been absolutely unbelievable.

“What we’ve had to go through is quite frightening and to lose them in the manner we did.

"Amari’i went yesterday which was the most innocuous thing, Elijah Adebayo went down with sniffles last night, so couldn't play.

"The players out there have shown phenomenal character to come to a difficult place as these are a good Championship side, and get a point and that’s what it’s all about.”

With Bell missing, it meant that full back Dan Potts was thrust into the side for his first minutes of the season, before being substituted at half time for skipper Sonny Bradley, himself getting a first run-out of the campaign following his recovery from Covid.

He was followed on to the field on the hour mark by Berry, the midfielder another getting his first taste of the action this term after recovering from calf injury, proving to be the hero with two close range strikes.

Jones continued: “He’s (Potts) been out with a hamstring injury, hasn’t trained properly, hasn’t had any minutes, but we had to throw him in today because of Amari’i.

"Sonny Bradley’s had 60 minutes since Portsmouth in pre-season, Henri Lansbury hasn't played any games, Luke hasn’t played any games.

"Honestly, I’ve never seen us like this as we never have been and we’re going down with everything.

"It's not muscular injuries, it’s illness, it’s a crazy time, and that’s what makes it a good point.

"At no point were we absolutely pleasing to the eye, but today we dug in and got a Championship point which are difficult to come by.”

Muskwe’s injury saw Mendes Gomes on with very little warning, as the summer signing got through an hour before being replaced, as Jones went back to one of his old guard in Berry to salvage a result.

The boss added: “We brought a bit of experience on, Carlos Mendes Gomes might not have been prepared, he’s just come from Morecambe, this is what we’re looking to do and he’s going to take time to develop.

“That’s what we had first half, fifty-fifty's we weren't quite winning, we didn't quite have enough guile, they've got people like (Joe) Rothwell, (Beb) Brereton Diaz and people that have cost a lot of money and have go quality.

"The boy (Tyrhys) Dolan’s a good player, so they just showed more quality than us first half.

"If we just showed an ounce of composure and defended better then it might have been different, but it wasn’t, so we had to rely on a barnstorming finish.

"We had enough chances in that game to at least score two.

"Cameron Jerome has a glorious chance, he then scores a perfectly good goal (ruled out for a push), Pelly-Ruddock (Mpanzu) from the edge of the box, who hits Bolton, and that’s something we have to get better and show more quality in, but that’s our learning curve.”