Luton boss wants to 'upset the applecart' against former club Middlesbrough

Hatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Hatters chief Graeme Jones is out to 'upset the applecart' when his side go head-to-head with Middlesbrough on the opening day of the Championship season.

Luton will kick off the English domestic league season in front of the Sky TV cameras at Kenilworth Road against a side who were plying their trade in the Premier League up until recently.

It's a club that Jones knows well too, as he coached in the academy at the Riverside for four years, before going on to Hamilton Academical and then linking up with former team-mate Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic, going with the Spaniard to Swansea, Everton and Belgium.

Jones also revealed there is a family link to the match as well, as speaking to the club's official website, he said: "I started my coaching career there in 2003.

"I was there for four years and have really fond memories of the club.

“I had a fantastic education from Dave Parnaby and Stan Nixon, who were the academy manager and assistant, and it was at a particularly good time for the club.

"That first season they won the FA Youth Cup and I’ll always be grateful for that education.

“My wife Debbie is from the area as well, from Stockton-on-Tees, so I think we’ll be having lots of requests for tickets!

"But the most important thing for us is it’s a home game under the floodlights at Kenilworth Road.

“There was always going to be some twist in the tale, but it’s a good one.

"It’s a former club and with Debbie’s whole family being Middlesbrough supporters, we’ll just have to upset the applecart, won’t we?”

After hosting Boro, Luton continue their Championship campaign away at Cardiff and then home to another of Jones' former teams in West Bromwich Albion, meaning all of their first three opponents have been relegated from the top flight in the last three years.

Jones continued: "That’s the definition of being in the Championship.

"You could pick me another 20 clubs where there’ll be a story to tell.

"You just have to take every game on its own merit and make sure you’re prepared for it.“

The new boss is looking forward to his first experience of a night game in front of the Hatters fans too, as he added: “I’m told it can be electric at Kenilworth Road under the lights.

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but we had a late kick-off against Oxford and I was there, so I could feel the atmosphere.

“First game of the season, live on Sky, Friday night – it’s all very, very exciting and I’m sure that’s what the Luton Town supporters were looking for when we were promoted to the Championship.”