Luton boss will decide whether to loan trio out even if Town fans want to see them given a chance for the Hatters

Town attacker Dion PereiraTown attacker Dion Pereira
Town attacker Dion Pereira
Pereira, Thorpe and Watson could all move away ahead of deadline day

Hatters boss Nathan Jones will make his mind up whether to loan out Dion Pereira, Elliot Thorpe and Louie Watson despite knowing some supporters believe they should be given more first team opportunities at Kenilworth Road.

Pereira, 23, moved to Luton in November 2020, but has only made three appearances since then, with spells at Yeovil Town and Bradford City last season.

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The former Atlanta United and Watford youngster started the 3-2 Carabao Cup victory against Newport County Loan earlier this month, while Thorpe has impressed in all three of his outings for the Hatters this term, handing his Championship bow in the 1-0 defeat to Preston, as did Watson during his full debut against the Exiles.

It has led to some fans hoping the trio will see further game time for the first team, but with Town only able to name 25 players in their Championship squad, and with Thorpe and Pereira above the U21 cut-off age, then Jones admitted they might be moved on to boost their experience.

With just a few days until the transfer window shuts at 11pm this Thursday, he said: “The likes of Dion, Thorpey and Louie Watson for example, are young players that need the exposure to games, but also we see being here for their long-term future.

“It’s about, are they going to impact now a lot?

"If not, will getting 15 or 20 games at a different club benefit them more than just being around and involved with us because that’s the balance we have.

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“Yes they are all closer, Thorpey is closer, Dion Pereira is closer, we have paid money for Louie Watson and brought him in so we have high hopes for him.

“I understand fans will say Pereira should play, he should do this and he should do that, or Thorpey has done brilliantly, but we have a strong squad now.

“In League Two they would be playing, Pereira would play, Thorpe would get more exposure. League One, they would be closer.

“Now that we’re a very strong Championship side, we’d love to play youngsters but we have a lot of good players who are slightly ahead of them so to keep their development going, that’s the reason we loan them out, and then everyone keeps moving forward.

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“In six months they come back and we never let anyone go from this football club that we don’t really need to.

“It’s well publicised that we lost Kal Naismith and he’s the only one who has gone from this football club that since I’ve been here, I’ve not calculated for.

“We’ve never been caught unaware so even the likes of (Peter) Kioso, we would have kept Peter but he wasn’t happy being a squad player and I couldn’t guarantee him time so you have to keep everyone moving forward.

“We make sane decisions here regardless of how positive or negative they seem to outsiders.

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"Everyone is involved in the process, it isn’t just my decision, it’s a process.”

On 21-year-old Watson, who started his career at West Ham, before moving to Derby County where he made 15 appearances, also featuring for the Republic of Ireland at U18 and U21 level, Jones felt he impressed when starting against Newport in the cup.

He continued: “I thought he was excellent in possession, he looked really productive in terms of his play.

"There’s a lot to learn, a lot to like about him and he will get better for the experience of being with us longer.

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"He’s hardly played a minute, as he rolled his ankle in the first pre-season game for him after he signed, after about three or four minutes.

"It’s really curtailed him a bit and we’ve been interested to see how he does.”

With young forwards Josh Neufville and Aribim Pepple already out on loan at League Two sides Sutton United and Grimsby Town, Jones knows it is a case of working out what destinations are best for his squad, adding: “It’s about choosing the ones that need to go out and get minutes and get games, get progression.

"We have a few out already, Pepple has gone out and is playing for Grimsby, McAtee as well, Josh Neufville has been out so a couple of young ones that will go out.

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"Everyone else we’re really happy with, it’s just about furthering development of a few in the squad and keeping them moving forward because that is the only way we will benefit.

"We can’t progress 27,28 players, it’s impossible to do that.

"One or two need to get that exposure and once we find a suitable places for them, they will do that.

"There are some talented boys here that need games.”