Jones urges Pereria to show the hunger needed to become a success at Luton

Town attacker Dion PereiraTown attacker Dion Pereira
Town attacker Dion Pereira
Attacker involved in the warm-up at Wycombe on Saturday

Luton chief Nathan Jones has called on young attacker Dion Pereira to show the hunger required to remain in and around the Town first team squad for the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old joined up with the Hatters’ U23s squad along with former West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace youngsters Jack Chambers and TQ Addy back in November 2020.

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Since then, Pereira, who has made two Premier League substitute appearances for this weekend’s opponents Watford after coming through the ranks at Vicarage Road, plus spending a year in America with MLS side Atlanta United, has caught the eye at Kenilworth Road, scoring a number of goals in the club’s development friendlies.

Assistant boss Mick Harford confirmed the forward had been involved in first team training recently, while he was on the bench at Swansea City before Christmas and then involved in the warm up as Luton won 3-1 at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

When asked about his progress, Jones said: ”What he’s done is he’s done very well in the U23s, so when the opportunity arises he’s come over, he has done quite well.

"He has to continue that now because the biggest thing about young players is, sometimes when they do really well, get an opportunity, they land and they think, 'okay, i’m here now', but now he’s got to keep pushing.

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"It’s a hunger and we spoke to the squad this morning about the hunger to do well, how do we demand from each other? How do we move forward in terms of everything?

"Sometimes that’s frank conversations, because we drive stuff on, we want players to drive stuff on, we want standards to remain and all those things enable us to move forward.”

Jones was quick to point to another youngster at the club, Josh Neufville, who he gave his senior debut to against Brighton U21s in a Checkatrade Trophy group stage match back in September 2018.

Since then, the attacker has played just three more matches for the Hatters, his last coming in August 2019 when Luton defeated Ipswich Town in the Carabao Cup.

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The teenager is currently on loan for the rest of the season at National League side Yeovil, where he has impressed, bagging five goals in 21 games, as Town’s boss added: “I speak of the players we’ve had and young players who have come in that haven't quite (gone on).

"Josh Neufville for example is doing wonderfully now at Yeovil, really good.

"He came into the first team, thought it was going to be easy and then you sometimes have a little shock.

"Now he’s had to go away and re-establish himself and he’s done fantastically well.

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"We have to realise he’s still only 19, Dion’s slightly older, but that’s what happens with young players.

"They get opportunities, they step in, but then they have to keep pace with everyone else as everyone else in the group wants to be hungry, wants to move forward.

"We want to promote young players here, we want to give them opportunities, but they have to earn that and that’s the big thing.”