Jones wants Luton to win their mini-league

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton chief Nathan Jones has urged his side to win their eight game mini-league to ensure that the Hatters are playing in the third tier of English football next season.

Town start their shortened campaign at home to Barnet this evening, with the game live on Sky, before visiting Colchester United and entertaining Mansfield Town over Easter.

Luton then have trips to Yeovil, Carlisle and Notts County, with home matches against Crewe and Forest Green to come before the season is out.

Hatters go into it three points off the top and five ahead of Notts County in fourth, as Jones said: “In October and early November, we were in wonderful form, Notts County were leading the way and we clawed them back and just edged above them, and it was all tight.

“It’s pretty similar now, it's like an eight game mini league that you’ve got to try and win.

"We’ve some big games coming up for everyone, it’s how you hold your nerve, how you get the wins that you need.

“We know what we have to do and we know how we’re going to play, so we’re looking forward to it.

“This is an exciting time, this is the end to be at. I first came here, we were mid-table, and looking to strive to get in the play-offs.

"Last year we were looking to get automatic, but we knew that the title was beyond us, this year, it’s all to play for.”

With leaders Accrington not in action this afternoon and Notts County playing tomorrow, Luton know a victory will take them top again and put the pressure back on the Magpies who head to Chesterfield.

The Town chief wants the players to seize their chance this time having passed up a number of opportunities to really cement their place at the summit in recent weeks.

He continued: “You’d think they would see that, we’ve had the odd meeting this week in terms of refocussing them.

“I look at stuff and you can panic or get down, or over analyse stuff, but we’ve been the better side in most games.

“Coventry, I’ll hold my hands up, if we’d have lost to Coventry, we didn’t deserve too much from it, but every other game we deserved to win.

“So I’m not too worried about performance levels and if the right decisions were made against Accrington, I’ve no doubt we would have won the game.

“We can’t dwell on that now, we’re in a wonderful position, there’s eight games to go, good games, four home, four away.

"There's some tough games in there, but everyone’s got tough games and it’s how we finish now.

“We’ve got a good group, a positive group, talented group, good blend of experience and youth, so lets go.”

Since Jones has been at Luton, they have finished the season in decent form, taking 18 points from their final eight games last season and 13 the campaign before as he added: ""Last year we finished very strongly, if we finish in the same way then we go up a league.

"People were expecting it to be done a lot earlier, football’s not like that.

"We’ve been in wonderful form throughout the season and we’ve had a tough month this month, had three really tough away games, which we’re unbeaten in.

"So we’re focussed on that, it’s just we’ve got to make sure we finish the month.

“We want to win and we want to go back to the top of the league which we will do (if we win).

"It’s a big game, it’s on Sky, it’s a great occasion for us and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve prepared well, and it will be a tough one, we know that, but we’re ready.

Run-ins

Accrington: Mansfield (a); Notts County (h); Colchester (a); Exeter (h); Yeovil (h); Wycombe (a); Newport (a) Lincoln (h); Swindon (a).

Wycombe: Port Vale (h); Notts County (a); Grimsby (h); Yeovil (a); Lincoln (a); Accrington (h); Chesterfield (a); Stevenage (h).

Notts County: Chesterfield (a); Wycombe (h); Accrington (a); Coventry (h); Colchester (a); Yeovil (h); Grimsby (a); Luton (h).

Mansfield: Forest Green (a); Accrington (h); Luton (a); Crewe (h); Stevenage (a); Chesterfield (a) Port Vale (h); Yeovil (a); Crawley (h).

Exeter: Swindon (h); Lincoln (a); Cheltenham (h); Cambridge (a); Accrington (a); Chesterfield (h); Crawley (h); Stevenage (a); Colchester (h).

Coventry: Grimsby (h); Newport County (a); Yeovil (h); Notts County (a); Crawley (a); Stevenage (h); Lincoln (h); Cheltenham (a); Morecambe (h).

Lincoln: Morecambe (a); Exeter (h); Carlisle (a); Port Vale (a); Wycombe (h); Colchester (h); Coventry (a); Accrington (a); Yeovil (h).