Jones: There's even more to come from Pelly ahead of midfielder's 300th Luton appearance

Former West Ham youngster expected to reach milestone at the Hawthorns

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 14th August 2021, 8:20 am
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:30 pm
Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu will make his 300th appearance for Luton at West Bromwich Albion today
Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu will make his 300th appearance for Luton at West Bromwich Albion today

Town boss Nathan Jones insists there is still plenty more to come from midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu ahead of his 300th appearance for the club this afternoon.

If selected against West Bromwich Albion, the 27-year-old will become only the 23rd player in Luton’s history to reach the milestone, and the first since Jake Howells managed it back in January 2015.

Mpanzu was brought into the club under previous manager John Still in December 2013, first on loan from West Ham United, then permanently, but struggled with fitness issues during his first few seasons, although that all changed once Jones was first appointed in January 2016.

Since then, the former Hammers youngster has averaged 46 appearances in his last five seasons, topping 50 twice, becoming one of the mainstays of the team in all four of the divisions he has played in, Luton having won promotion from the Conference to the Championship.

After agreeing a new contract in the summer, there is every chance of Mpanzu pushing on to 400 outings in the next few years, as asked if he had reached his potential yet, Jones said: “No, and that is the reason why we have re-signed him and why we were able to re-sign him and why he re-signed, because he believes that there is still a lot to come from him.

“He isn’t the finished article, he has been a work in progress for many years.

"From where we started from in 2016, he was someone that was very raw and very impulsive, not able to stay fit for long periods of time and not able to be durable so that we could get sustained work into him.

“He didn’t really have a fixed position because he came here as a centre-half.

"I played him right-wing, left-wing, he scored against Mansfield away, we moved him to right-wing and he scored and assisted in the game from right wing so he can do a bit of everything.

"I played him up front against Hartlepool, but now we are at a point where he is as durable as you would find.

"He is powerful, strong and has established himself as a midfield player that can do both sides of the game.

"He has real quality to his game, there is just a few final bits before he becomes a real top, consistent performer at Championship level.”