Luton defender Kioso felt loan moves to Bolton and Northampton proved his worth
Town full back happy to take on the challenge of League One and Two
Luton defender Peter Kioso felt last season’s loan spells at Bolton Wanderers and Northampton Town went some way to showing he can cope in the Football League
The 22-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road from Hartlepool in January 2020 after making 67 National League appearances for the Victoria Park club.
Having been at Dunstable Town previously, Kioso was untested in the Football League, although did make two fleeting sub appearances in the Championship for Luton, and a full debut against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.
With first team football at Town looking unlikely, he was then sent to League Two Bolton in October, going on to play 14 times for the Trotters, scoring three goals as well.
On his stint in Greater Manchester, Kioso said: “He said: “It wasn’t that bad of a season, certain targets that I set that I still didn’t reach, but it was a good progression from the season I had before.
“It was good to introduce myself to the league and show that I can play in the league.
“Going to Bolton was just about me getting some more league experience.
“For me it’s just about getting games under my belt.
"I said from the beginning the development part of things is the most important.
“I need to make sure I’m developing week in week out and every year I need to make sure I’m improving as a player, as a man.
“So for me going to Bolton really helped me in terms of me getting used to the league and what the league’s about and moving on from there.
“It was a good chance to get some games, the best thing about it is Ian Evatt the manager trusted me
“As soon as he brought me in he played me every time, so it’s a big credit to him for believing in me.”
Kioso also proved a big hit with the supporters too, saying: “For the fans, I have loads of love towards them as they accepted me from the beginning.
“They showed me lots of love and treated me like I was one of their own.
“It’s the best thing when you go in there and the manager backs you, the players back you and the fans back you, so you can just relax and concentrate on your football.”
Although recalled in January, Bolton went on to win promotion to reach League One, finishing third in the table, as the defender continued: “I did what I could have done before I left, so credit to the staff, to the players, to the club itself as I’ve been there first hand to see the hard work they put in, it’s what they deserve in my opinion.
“As soon as they went up, I was watching the game, I gave a 'well done' to a couple of the players, to the manager of course and it’s nothing less than what they deserved.
“It was a very good loan spell, luckily for me I grabbed a few goals, I didn’t hit the exact targets I set with goals and assists, so that’s something I’m going to have to push on for next year.”
When discussing how he found the level too, Kioso said: “It’s a new challenge, I’m not going to sit here and say to you it was easy.
“It’s a new challenge and a new challenge has its difficulties, but you just need to take them on the chin and move forward with them.”
Following his return to Kenilworth Road in January, Kioso was then sent out again shortly afterwards, moving to League One Northampton.
The full back said: “It was a little bit strange going from League Two Bolton to League One Northampton, a little bit different, but it was a new challenge.
“I wanted to challenge myself again and show people that I’m capable of doing it in League One as well, that was my main reason for making that move.
“It was a lot different to being at Bolton, the playing style and in terms of the league you’re playing against better players than you played against at League Two.
“But I’ll keep saying, it’s a new challenge and any challenge at first you might not get, but if you keep sticking at it, keep working at it, you’ll figure it out and be able to handle the challenge that’s put ahead of you.
“Once again, the fans, they took me in as if I was one of their own.
“The manager had faith in me by playing me every game, unless I was injured and the players had faith in me as well.
“I was able to concentrate on my football, and for me, that’s the best thing you can have as a footballer, when all you need to worry about is the football, you don’t need to worry about anything else.
"You know you have the backing of everybody around you, so that’s good for you.”
When asked if the standard in the third tier was noticeably different, he said: “There was a difference in terms of play and in terms of how certain players were playing, different wingers you’re going to go up against, skillful wingers.
"But it is good for me to be able to say I can take the League Two challenge as my first challenge and then after that move up to take the League One challenge and I didn’t do too bad in both.
"So it’s just about moving on and taking the next challenge and making sure I do as good as I did in the last two.”
Although Northampton were eventually relegated, Kioso felt that even being involved at the wrong end of the table can only help with his own development going forwards, adding: "In terms of relegation, it was unfortunate, it was hard to take, as I think we did quite well.
"There were some games we should have won, there were some games we dropped points and can say we got ourselves into that situation.
"It’s a learning curve and is something you can use to know that every game is as important as each other, it doesn’t matter how early it is or how late is it.”
Kioso also passed 100 senior appearances during his time at the PTS Academy Stadium, as the full back added: "To get my 100 games as a milestone, that was good, so for me it’s just about pushing on.
“For me, it’s always been about playing and trying to get as many appearances as I can to try and get as much experience as I can under my belt, especially when you're young.
"It’s the most important thing, getting experience of different places and different leagues."