Luton skipper Bradley: Beating 12th place will be our 'biggest challenge yet'
Defender aware next season will be tough for the Hatters
Town captain Sonny Bradley has warned Luton face their ‘biggest challenge yet’ to improve on their 12th-placed finish in the Championship last term.
Following on from campaign in which the Hatters had only just stayed up on the final day of the season, many expected Nathan Jones’ side to struggle again last term.
However, that was never the case, Town finishing in mid-table with 62 points, their highest second tier tally since the 1981-82 season.
It continued Luton’s record of improving their league position every season since they finished 11th in League Two back in 2016.
Jones himself wants to carry that on this term, but Bradley, who signed a new deal last week, knows it will take some effort to do so.
He said: “Make no mistake it’s going to probably be the biggest challenge yet since I’ve been at this football club.
“I mentioned it at the end of last season about winning the League One title is difficult and then staying in the Championship was tough.
“It was a big ask and we did it, but the biggest step up was from finishing where we did on the last day to finishing 12th.
“That’s for me, that’s the biggest step up, so to go again and improve again, for me, this is going to be the biggest challenge.
“But we’ve got a group of players that are ambitious, we’ve got a manager who’s ambitious, who doesn’t want to stand still.
“None of the players that are currently signed to the football club want to stand still, we’re all there as we all want to improve and want to progress.
“If I didn’t feel that was possible, then I wouldn’t re-sign for the football club as the football club wouldn’t match my ambition.
“So the ambition is there, the drive’s there, it’s just about coming back strong, staying fit and giving everything again next season.”
Although knowing it will be a huge ask to better their achievement in what is one of the most competitive leagues in European football, Bradley is confident that both himself and the squad have it within their capabilities to do so.
He continued: “It helps that this season I’ve played in a team with more confidence and the team are playing better as a whole, so that obviously helps me out as well.
“I’ve certainly got another gear to my game, I think the manager knows that and I’ve let him know that.
“I want him to push me, as a squad I want us to push each other and I think there’s a lot of people that do have another gear to their game.
“If we find those gears then who knows what can happen next season?
“I want to progress, I want to push on.
“The last five or six seasons, from being at Plymouth and being at Luton, I feel that I’ve progressed every year, and I want to do the same again next season.
“For me there’s no reason why I can’t.”
Luton will have to try and better their standing without two of the mainstays from their squad over the last two campaigns though, with striker James Collins and fellow defender Matty Pearson both leaving the club, heading to Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town respectively.
Bradley knows the pair will be a miss and wished they had stayed with the Hatters, adding: “Over the last few years, we’ve had a really good squad, had some really good characters in there.
“James Collins and Matty Pearson are right up with the biggest characters in the squad and they will be a big miss.
“But what I can say about both players is they’ve been fantastic servants to this football club, their work-rate and their honesty every day has been outstanding.
“They’ve deserved their moves and it would have been nice for them to stay, I would have loved for them both to stay, but they’ve chosen to move on.
“I think everyone at the football club including myself will pat them on the back and wish them all the best in the future because that’s exactly what they deserve."