Luton boss wants to start a Carabao Cup run by beating Ipswich

Town chief Graeme Jones
Town chief Graeme Jones

Town chief Graeme Jones is targeting an extended run the Carabao Cup this season ahead of tonight’s first round tie against Ipswich Town.

After bringing in three players on loan during transfer deadline day last week, the Hatters now have a 33-man squad and the Luton boss would like to give a few of them some much-needed game time.

He also wants a first win under his belt before welcoming promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion to Kenilworth Road on Saturday, saying: “With the squad we’ve got, we could do with a few more games in this competition, so there’s many different reasons for doing well and winning the game.

“We need to improve and progress and that’s what I’ll be looking at.

“If we can do that with a win then that’s another step, so I’m really looking forward to the game.”

Although Town aren’t expected to feature in the latter stages of the competition, Jones didn’t subscribe to that view, as he wants another winners medal in his trophy cabinet.

He continued: “I’ve been in the quarter-final and the semi-final.

“In 2016 with Everton, we got to both domestic semi-finals and we got knocked out by Man City, we got beat 4-3 over two legs, after being 2-1 up from the first leg, which was a bit difficult to take.

“I remember thinking, I’ve won an FA Cup (with Wigan), I’d love to win a Carabao Cup, or Capital One Cup maybe as it was at the time.

“So I’ve experienced a lot of big games in it, but never got to the final.

“I’d love to get to the final this year, and in football you never know.”

The Tractor Boys are managed by former Scotland and Norwich chief Paul Lambert, and have begun their League One campaign promisingly, with four points out of six.

Jones said: “I know Paul really well, our teams came up against him when he was at (Aston) Villa and last season we played against Ipswich twice.

“He’s a very, very pragmatic manager, I’ve got a lot of respect for Paul.

“I know Stan (Stuart Taylor) his assistant really well, he took over from me when I left Hamilton (Academical) and went to Swansea.

“They’ll be competitive with those two in charge, no question.

“They played 4-4-2 at the weekend, and these games, nobody really knows tactically what’s in store.

“So we need to be ready for everything, but I’m looking forward to seeing Paul and Stan again.”

Former Luton loanee Flynn Downes could be back on the Kenilworth Road pitch once more, although there are injury doubts over ex-Everton youngster Luke Garbutt, whom Jones worked with when at Goodison Park earlier in his career.

The Town boss said: “There was lots of talk about Flynn in the summer.

“He was available, he’s obviously done a really good job so far for Ipswich, so we’ll welcome him back to Kenilworth Road, but hopefully he’ll suffer a nice defeat and we won’t be too welcoming.

“I watched Luke play for Oxford in our last game in League One when we won the title.

“I know Luke really well, he was a left back under us at Everton, he’s been playing left wing for Oxford, I think he’s playing left wing for Ipswich, so it will be good to see Luke.

“He was a good boy, a good character, but with the Carabao Cup you don’t know what team they’re going to be fielding, what Paul’s ideas are.

“So we’ll just have to make sure we’re ready and we’ll need to know every player and cover every formation.”

Town approach the game after an injury time 2-1 reverse at Cardiff City on Saturday, but Jones is confident they have quickly recovered from the disappointment of that result.

He added: “We were in yesterday (Sunday) and I think it helps coming in to flush the mind and the body and then we quickly turned our attention to the Ipswich game, which you have to.

“We had a really important training session here and a warm down for the boys that played against Cardiff.

“That’s this league, you haven’t got time to look backwards, you have to look forwards and that’s what we’ve done.

“We still made progress at the weekend when I look back at the game and there’s obviously small details that’s cost us a little bit and that’s what I have to address.”