Luton boss backs Mpanzu to rediscover the form he showed last year for Town

Midfielder looked back to his old self at Ewood Park

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:13 pm
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

Luton boss Nathan Jones is hoping that midfielder Pelly-Ruddock will begin to rediscover his form from last season after a starring role at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has made an indifferent start to the campaign so far, but looked back to somewhere near his athletic and powerful best at Ewood Park, having a big hand in both of Town’s goals.

First, he burst on to James Bree’s header to reach the byline and cross for Luke Berry to convert, grabbing a first assist of the season.

Then, the former West Ham United youngster kept his cool in the eighth and final minute of stoppage time to deliver an excellent high ball into the box for Cameron Jerome to nod down, Berry stealing in to make it 2-2 and earn Town a point.

Mpanzu, who is now approaching his eighth year at Kenilworth Road, missed a good chunk of pre-season after not agreeing a new contract with the Hatters until mid-July, meaning he only had a few friendlies to gain some much-needed fitness and match practice ahead of the Championship kick-off.

That has seen him take time to reestablish himself as a force to be reckoned with according to Jones, who said: “That’s the thing and we’ve got a few who missed out.

"We always feel that’s the importance of getting our squad in early to do the work and that’s why it’s so frustrating as we had our squad in.

"For the duration of pre-season we were in an unbelievable position as we had most of them in, they’d done all the work and then we picked up a few things from there.

"But Pelly’s a victim of that as he missed the first three weeks of pre-season, which is never ideal, especially how he plays.

"He’s played every game though, he’s gathering a bit of momentum, so hopefully he can rediscover the form he showed last year.”