Luton skipper Bradley didn't beat himself up too much after being taken off at half-time against Preston

Hatters captain produces a big performance during Boro victory

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 5:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 5:22 pm
Hatters defender Sonny Bradley
Hatters defender Sonny Bradley

Town skipper Sonny Bradley admitted he didn’t beat himself up too much after being taken off at half-time against Preston North End on Saturday.

The 30-year-old was one of two early withdrawals at the interval, along with Glen Rea, replaced by Hatters boss Nathan Jones at Deepdale, with the visitors 2-0 behind, Bradley himself having given away a penalty on the stroke of the interval with a rash challenge inside the area.

However, the captain remained in the starting line-up for last night’s Championship clash with Middlesbrough, producing an excellent display which was enough to earn him the Sky man of the match award,

Speaking afterwards, Bradley said: “Those games happen, I didn’t beat myself up too much.

“It was a mistake at a terrible time against Preston, for us to go 2-0 down and the manager changed it, brought me off for tactical reasons and because I wasn’t my usual self.

“I understood that, the manager spoke to me about it, and I think he knows me well enough to know he would get a reaction out of me tonight.

“I wanted to put in a top performance.

"I didn’t plan on probably getting a goal, but to give the manager a goal and to help us get the three points, I’m delighted that’s happened.”

With neither Bradley or Luton at their best at the weekend as their five game unbeaten run was ended in timid fashion, the skipper revealed they had a chat abut the performance in training ahead of the Boro clash.

He continued: “I’ve heard people say before and I’ve said it myself, when you get beat on a Saturday, it’s nice there’s a Tuesday game or a Wednesday night game so you can react really quick and get it out of your system.

“This week we came in yesterday (Monday), had a really good session and had a team meeting and I think everybody in the room understood that our performance against Preston wasn’t good enough.

“We set our standards at this football club, we’ve set a pretty high bar this season.

"Every time we drop below that then we’re going to start questioning ourselves as we’ve got ambitions this season.

“If we turn up like we did against Preston then we’re not going to get there, so it was important that tonight we got back to what we do best and we showed that form that we showed recently.

"The first half was a bit cagey, but over the 95 minutes, I think we thoroughly deserved it as well.”

Bradley himself put in a much better showing on the night, also scoring his first goal of the season, with yet another strike in front of the Sky cameras, the fourth time he has done so.

Boss Nathan Jones was eager to praise the manner in which his captain bounced back from the disappointment of going off on Saturday, as he said: “He was excellent, especially coming off the back of when you take your captain off at half time, it’s a big call, and you have to be right.

"Regardless if I was right or wrong at the weekend, there was no question he’d come back in tonight, but he did and he responded fantastically well as I thought he was excellent.”

Jones did make two changes to his defence and five in total, with Reece Burke and Dan Potts in for Tom Lockyer and Amari’i Bell, although had Bradley not been included, he wouldn’t have cause for complaints.

The captain added: “If I didn’t play tonight, I couldn’t have too much of an argument.

"Locks has been brilliant, I know he’s been struggling a little bit this week with a groin problem, I think that’s the reason why he missed out tonight, but we’ve got options in the middle.

"I think Reece and Kal were brilliant, so it’s competition for places, which in my opinion, is always healthy.”