Luton chief impressed as 'makeshift' back four keeps a clean sheet in Peterborough victory

Hatters manager praises defence during opening day win

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 9th August 2021, 11:00 am
Full back Amari'i Bell goes up for a header against Peterborough
Full back Amari'i Bell goes up for a header against Peterborough

Town chief Nathan Jones was overjoyed to see his makeshift back four produce the goods against Peterborough United on Saturday, earning a first clean sheet of the season in a 3-0 victory.

With Sonny Bradley, Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke and Dan Potts all absent, it meant a first centre half pairing for Kal Naismith and Gabe Osho, the latter who was making his Championship debut for the Hatters.

Summer signing Amari’i Bell also started at left back with James Bree on the opposite flank, as they restricted their opponents to very little in terms of clear-cut chances, keeper Simon Sluga having a far quieter afternoon than he might have otherwise expected.

On the performance, Jones said: “I’m delighted as I wouldn’t say that was the only worry, but if we were going to come unstuck it was a makeshift back four.

“Gabe making his full league debut for us, Amari’i Bell has been away with the Gold Cup, Kal has only been with us six months, but I thought they were excellent in terms of in and out of possession.

“They limited a side that’s used to scoring goals to very little, so very pleasing.”

Bell had missed a large chunk of pre-season due to being part of the Jamaica squad for the Gold Cup in America, but looked like he had been playing for the Hatters all his career with an excellent display on the left hand side of defence.

Always eager to find a forward pass, he linked well with Town’s attacking players, saw a shot deflected narrowly wide himself, while was solid when called upon too, displaying his pace to get back and avert the danger when needed.

Jones continued: “That’s why we brought him here.

“We wanted to have real competition there and we needed more athleticism.

"We’ve got good athleticism, Potts is a fantastic athlete, so is Bree, (Peter) Kioso, (Jordan) Clark can play there, but Amari'i there gives us that raw pace and is someone that gets you out of trouble.

“You saw that when they broke, you need that, as if you want to play expansively, if you want to play front-footed, you need that athleticism, we’ve added that and we’re delighted with that.”