Luton chief believes Hylton would be near double figures had he started this season

Forward has been lacking in game time for the Hatters

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 9:16 am
Updated Saturday, 20th February 2021, 9:20 am
Danny Hylton is harried by the Cardiff defence on Tuesday night

Hatters boss Nathan Jones insists that forward Danny Hylton would be near double figures this season if he had enjoyed the same amount of game time as team-mate James Collins.

The 31-year-old has made 18 appearances for the Hatters so far, 15 of them coming in the Championship, although only six of them from the opening whistle.

He is still yet to score, with his goal drought stretching to almost two years now, last finding the net in League One on March 23, 2019, with injury and then falling out of favour under previous boss Graeme Jones, hampering his time on the pitch.

The striker has gone close on a number of occasions this term, glancing a header wide during Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat to Cardiff, but Jones believes a lack of match sharpness has affected the former Oxford frontman, who has managed 58 goals in 147 games since arriving from Oxford United in the summer of 2016.

Jones said: “Hylton just hasn’t had the games, the rhythm.

“Now we’ve gone with Collo and Collo’s scored 10 goals this season, but he’s had the game time to do that.

“I’ve no doubt if I had literally started Hylton for the last 20 games, that Hylton wouldn’t have scored a similar level, so it’s who we go with.

“Because we have played predominantly 4-3-3, with one striker, one number nine of you like and two wider ones, then that’s what it is

“But we’ve got George Moncur who has scored a few goals this season and has been unfortunate to be left out as we might need certain things.

"Now that’s my decision right or wrong, but we’re going to need everyone, everyone firing and that’s why we train at a level and ask people to train at the level, so when they do come in they’re ready."

Collins is the only recognised forward to have found the net for Luton this term, Harry Cornick yet to score in his 27 appearances, while Sam Nombe and Elijah Adebayo, although only just joining, are yet to be on target.

Jones wasn't overly concerned about Cornick though, despite the ex-Bournemouth winger finishing with nine in the Championship last term, saying: “Harry has been in good form, real good form, so I’m not worried about that.

"Yes I would like him to score, but he’s been in wonderful form, he’s a massive threat, so I’ve got no worries about Harry Cornick.

"We need a little bit more quality, we need to take chances a little bit more, because it’s not like we're not creating chances.

"We probably created better chances than Cardiff but they scored from a knock down and a shot from the edge of the box and a wonderful, wonderful finish from Harry Wilson.

“So structurally and producing wise, we created as good or better chances than other people.

“Away at Brentford, we created better chances than Brentford, it’s just we have to take them and find the right formula as structurally for the whole team we're not in a bad place but we just need to demonstrate that with more quality.”

Jones looked to bolster his attacking force with the signing of Adebayo from League Two Walsall, and although Jones won't rush him, having handed him a second half cameo against the Bluebirds in midweek, he is confident the former Fulham youngster will have an impact, adding: “He’s something we haven’t got, someone who will gather pace, it's just about work now as it’s a big step up from League Two to the Championship.

"Some of the centre halves he would have come up against, without being disrespectful in League Two, and then you see when he makes his debut for us the other day and he’s coming up against three absolute giants and experienced at Championship level.

"Then it’s different, everything's different, so it might take a little bit of time, but he’ll get there, I’ve got no doubt about it.”