Luton boss urges referees to do more in a bid to improve the flow of 'bitty' Championship matches

Hatters boss Nathan Jones talks to his players during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to PrestonHatters boss Nathan Jones talks to his players during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Preston
Hatters boss Nathan Jones talks to his players during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Preston
Hatters chief disappointed once more by the officials at the weekend

Luton boss Nathan Jones wants to see referees step up their attempts to let the games flow more following what he believes has been a stop-start beginning to the Championship season.

The Hatters chief has been left highly frustrated after his side’s opening two home encounters in the league so far, Birmingham and Preston both guilty of employing time-wasting techniques from early on in the encounters, which Town have struggled to combat.

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Following the Blues efforts on the opening day goalless draw which went largely unpunished, Saturday at least saw referee Dean Whitestone, who had a fairly terrible game overall, book keeper Freddie Woodman for delaying the retake of a free kick in the second half, dishing out six yellow cards in total for a variety of offences from the visitors.

However, following Brad Potts’ spectacular goal on 18 minutes that gave the Lilywhites something to protect, Town couldn’t ever get a head of steam up and something needs to be done in Jones’ opinion, as he said: “I think it’s a really difficult job for them and sometimes I don’t get what they say.

“Today I just felt it was just the flow of the game, they’re (Preston) in control of the flow of the game.

“Obviously two teams play their part, but they’re in control, so the fans are no mugs.

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“The fans want to see a game of football and they weren’t trying to speed them up when it was 1-0 down, they were trying to speed them up when it was 0-0 as the fans want to see the ball back in play.

“It takes ages and people kid, line defenders up, they say ‘we’re going to play, we’re going to play, no we’re not, get up the pitch,’ and it wastes 30, 40 seconds and it’s every goal kick.

“But when you concede first you’re susceptible to that.

"I’m sure Freddie Woodman would have been far quicker and far more rapid in his distribution had we been one up, but that’s the thing about going one behind.

“That’s the thing that was frustrating as it takes so long to get everything back in play and when we’re trying to generate momentum, we couldn’t, so it was bitty, very bitty and I think a lot of Championship games are getting like that now, they really are.”

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Jones would like to see firmer action taken by the officials though, who have been given new directives this term to try and cut out the amount of delaying that goes on in a match.

He continued: “They’re not going to be in any rush to do anything and rightly so, that’s up to them.

“It’s up to others to be able to deal with that, but it’s just frustrating at the minute in terms of Birmingham was exactly the same.

"We’re just trying to generate tempo to win a game, and it’s very, very difficult.

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"We’re the only ones trying to create it, but the fact that we conceded, of course they were never going to be in any hurry.

"I think something has to be done, but if we’ve scored, taken one of our chances, I don’t think we’d be sitting here moaning about it.”

With Preston boss Ryan Lowe admitting the visitors changed their gameplan ahead of the trip Kenilworth Road, paying respect to a Luton side who reached reached the play-offs last term, Jones thought it shows just how far his team have come in recent years.

He added: “Today was difficult, the pitch was sticky, it was a hot day, there’s no flow in the game.

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"I’m sure if we’d have got the first goal it would have been a different game and that’s what it is.

"If we get the first goal against Birmingham, I’m sure we go on and win that by a few as they have to come out, they can’t sit in, but when they’ve got something to protect, same as Preston, and Preston are a good side, no qualms about it.

"They’ve got real good Championship experience and quality, but they came here to do a job on Luton, so that shows where we are, shows what reputation we have.

"Now we have to find a way, as sides don’t come here now thinking ‘we’ll beat Luton,’ sides come here now thinking ‘if we open up we’re going to get done.’

"So at least that’s one positive to take in terms of our standing in league football is slightly better, but at the minute we’re bottom six rather than top six, so we have to address that problem.”