Luton to begin a season defining run of fixtures according to boss Jones

Town manager knows his side face a tough sequence of matches

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 18th February 2022, 9:00 am
Luton chief Nathan Jones
Luton chief Nathan Jones

Town chief Nathan Jones insists his side are now entering what he believes will be a season defining run of fixtures.

The Hatters host fellow play-off hopefuls West Bromwich Albion tomorrow, heading to another side with top six ambitions on Wednesday evening in Stoke City.

Luton then entertain a Derby County team fighting for their lives at the bottom and host Premier League and World Club Cup champions Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, before trips to Middlesbrough and Coventry, with following home games against QPR and Preston North End.

Jones’ side go into the run of games sitting in 10 place, just four points away from the play-off spots with 16 matches of the campaign to be played.

The Town chief said: "It is always fascinating in the Championship and the players are so good.

“If it was just two that went up and you forgot the play-offs there is a lot of teams that wouldn’t have as much to play for as they do now and we’re one of those teams.

“We’re fantastically proud to be where we are but we also know there is a tough spell coming up now which will define what we do.”

On just what the Hatters need to do to ensure they remain in the race for a top six finish this term, Jones continued: “To keep the consistency and the quality levels we have been playing at because we’re not top ten by luck.

"We should be higher, statistically we should be higher and all our numbers back up where we are, our performance levels and so on.

"We’ve had a few injuries, we’ve had games called off, it hasn’t been a straightforward season in any way shape or form.

"The fixture list we believe is always against us because we’re very bias with that so it’s just about making sure we pick up more points than 18 other teams.

"It's a tough ask but it’s what we have to do.”

Although the play-offs are often derided by some, Jones think it’s crucial to keep the excitement in the Championship alive during the business end of the campaign, with a whole host of teams in contention to reach the Premier League via a Wembley final.

He added: “That is why the play-offs is a fantastic thing.

"It is wonderful to be one of those 12 teams because as I said we took it to the wire two seasons ago where we had to survive on the last day of the season.

"Now we’ve progressed significantly enough that we’re looking at the other end of the table because last year we finished top half of the table, but I don’t think we were in real contention of getting play-offs, whereas now it shows the progression we’ve made and I’m very proud of that.

"The Championship is always that kind of league to get that opportunity, everyone beats everyone.

"It was a fascinating game last night, it lacked quality but there was so much at stake with Peterborough and Reading.

"You just felt the tension, the British weather didn’t help the quality of it but it’s such a fascinating league it really is and such a great league.”