Jones taking it 'day by day' over injuries to Hatters trio while he won't be afraid to rest Adebayo again if required

Luton manager gives update on his squad for Blackburn clash

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 5:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 5:10 pm
Elijah Adebayo goes for goal against Bristol City
Elijah Adebayo goes for goal against Bristol City

Town boss Nathan Jones will leave it as late as possible before knowing if either Sonny Bradley, Jordan Clark or Harry Cornick will be fit to face Blackburn Rovers at Kenilworth Road this weekend, while he confirmed he would rest striker Elijah Adebayo once more if needed.

Bradley and Clark had both featured at Sheffield United on Saturday, but were absent from the 2-1 win over Bristol City on Tuesday night with Jones revealing the pair had picked up injuries up in training.

Meanwhile, Cornick has been out since the 2-1 defeat to Cardiff in November with a calf problem, as although he is progressing well, Jones said: “They’re all further along, it is day by day as I could say we’re hopeful on something or we’re not, it’s every day.

“It’s nothing major on anyone, it’s just little things you have game by game which is why the squad is so important because we made six changes the other day, three or four of those were enforced.

“We’re then looking after one or two people like Allan Campbell, who when he plays is like the Duracell bunny but with that comes a risk.

“Elijah is exactly the same, Pelly-Ruddock (Mpanzu) is churning out performances.

“You have to be careful, use your squad and be sensible whilst always keeping performance and result at the forefront.”

Jones had spoken in midweek about the need to manage Adebayo’s workload this season, as the forward has swiftly become Town’s talisman, with 12 goals to his name already.

He had been left on the bench at Bramall Lane on Saturday, coming on in the second half, but returned to the side to score the winner against the Robins as Luton climbed to 10th in the table.

On how he is shaping up after appearing to walk gingerly off the Kenilworth Road turf following the victory, Jones continued: “He’s a phenomenal athlete, he puts in phenomenal shifts and that’s what we have to do, is look after him.

"It’s the same with anyone, (Tom) Lockyer put in a massive shift and we were able to change him.

"If we’d have had another sub, we’d have changed Eli the other day because the shifts that he puts in and the work-rate he gets through is phenomenal for a front man.

“There’s not many in the Championship that put the shifts in that he does, centre forward-wise, and stills scores goals.

“(Aleksander) Mitrovic’s numbers are categorically different to Eli’s, in terms of scoring goals, but what he provides out of possession.

“(Dominic) Solanke and Eli are similar in terms of that athleticism and all-action and Solanke’s slightly ahead on goals, but that’s the level that Eli’s at.

“So, we make sure that we have to look after him and, sometimes, that’s doing something that we really don’t want to do.”

Adebayo’s goal when it came on Tuesday was once again from close range, as he netted from yet another dangerous James Bree cross.

It was the sixth goal from 11 second tier strikes that have bulged the net from inside the six yard box, and with a 55% ratio it puts him at the top of all the players in the top four divisions of English football.

Jones added: "We play to Elijah’s strengths, we work with him and he gives us something that we haven’t had before, as we’ve never really had a target man since I've been here.

"Danny’s (Hylton) probably been the best target man we’ve had, but Eli is a proper, proper number nine.

"He’s done wonderful and I don’t care where he scores from, as long as he scores.

"He’s been very good and he gives us that dimension that we use."