Luton boss confirms only 'sporadic cases' of Covid have affected the Hatters

Town chief has asked players to make sacrifices to ensure their games go ahead

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 24th December 2021, 2:01 pm
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 2:02 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has confirmed the Hatters haven’t been overly affected by Covid in the last few weeks, just suffering from some ‘sporadic cases’.

A number of clubs up and down the country have been forced to cancel their games on Boxing Day due to not having enough players available after contracting the new strain of the virus, Omicron.

The Hatters’ clash with Bristol City is just one of four that are still on in the Championship, as when asked about the latest situation at Kenilworth Road, Jones said: “We’ve had some sporadic cases.

"We haven’t had an outbreak as such, we've had people going down, people coming back, people who have been double jabbed have had it and they can come back after six days, so it's not decimated us in any way and got to a point where we’ve had to call a game off.

"But it’s been around, so the diligence has to be high as always and I have my own views on this, it’s very difficult to come out and say those but it’s one of those things, let’s just say we’ve got to be very careful.

“It’s crazy times, we’ve got to be very diligent, we’re reminding the players of their responsibilities, but it’s rife and even though it’s not as dangerous you could say, it's transmissible and that’s the thing.

"Because with flu being cured completely, now everything’s Covid, so we’ve got to be very, very careful and that’s it.”

Jones knows that it is a tough time for clubs to try and keep Covid away from their training grounds, meaning he has asked his players to make sacrifices in their personal lives to give them the best chance of keeping their matches on.

He continued: “With the greatest respect to everyone it’s very difficult.

"What we do here, is we’ve said, look, the most important thing is health, but the second thing, we are Luton Town.

"We want to play football matches, we want to keep this going, we want to make sure we do right, so we ask players to sacrifice certain things.

"I know of clubs going out for a Christmas party where all the squad is there and they’re calling games off, that for me is frivolous, and that for me should be punishable.

“We called our Christmas party off because we knew what they were doing, but I know categorically that every squad that has been to somewhere like Winter Wonderland, or a place like that, where people can mix and mingle, pretty much has had their game called off as you’re going to pick up things.

“We’ve been not the victim, the inadvertent victim of that, so for us, we’ve asked them to be really diligent, to sacrifice certain things for the good of our club, for the integrity of everything and they’ve done that.

“Yes, it’s impossible to stay totally Covid free, because it’s everywhere in the world and in Britain and in England and in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, London, or wherever it is.

"We’ve just asked them to be diligent.”

Luton have already had their schedule affected by Covid, with Reading forced to call their game off with the Hatters last weekend, due to an outbreak of the virus in their already injury-hit squad.

Jones added: “It was well publicised, Reading had 10 injuries, then we had the game called off.

"It’s disappointing, we wanted the integrity kept of everything that we do and the club do.

"Reading were unfortunate enough to be in a precarious position with injuries and Covid, so it was the right thing to do, because we don’t want to put anyone at risk, one iota.

"What we hope is that we don’t have too many called off, it kills momentum, you’ve got to start back up again and so on, but we can’t do anything.

“Health is paramount, but then once health can be assured, we want the games to be played.”