Mpanzu remains out for Luton as Jones waits on injured quartet

Team news for Saturday’s fixture with Blackpool

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 3:44 pm

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is out of this weekend’s home game against Blackpool due to his knee injury, as boss Nathan Jones will play the waiting game to see if any of his other sidelined injured players will be fit enough to return.

Mpanzu is still yet to recover from the knock which forced him off at Huddersfield on April 11, suffering a recurrence of the problem that had kept him out of the matches against Preston and Hull recently.

Town were also without Jordan Clark, Luke Berry, Cameron Jerome and Sonny Bradley for the match in Wales, although the latter was suspended, with Gabe Osho and Glen Rea out for the season, while Fred Onyedinma was one of three players to come off during the game, the winger turned wing-back suffering a tight groin.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is out of this weekend's game with Blackpool

When asked for an update, Jones said: “People like Jordan Clark and Luke Berry are closer and we have missed those two, we really have.

“People like Gabe Osho will be out, he’s not available and Pelly won’t be available for the weekend so it’s a tough one.

“It’s assessing it constantly, Fred was tight and stiff, so we have to take a precaution, as everyone’s giving so much.

“We’re having to play people out of position, so if you’re a centre half to defensive midfield, it’s a different position, your volume has to go up, your intensity has to go up.

“If you’re a left winger playing right wing-back, the distances, intensity, everything goes through the roof, and that’s contributory factors now with sports science.

“But we’re digging in, we’re somehow getting results week in week out.”

On just why he thinks the Hatters have suffered in such a manner with injuries during recent weeks, Jones added: “A lot of things have contributed to that.

“The Chelsea game was a real tough game for us and we lost Gabe Osho after that because we had to play him with others picking up injuries and slight knocks beforehand.

“Then we had a month off, we had a congested period which isn’t normal, so everything has contributed to that.

“If this was a Premier League season where you have 38 games, a couple of cup games and a week to prepare for everything then it’s good, but it’s not.

“It’s 46 games condensed into a nine-month season, condensed into an eight-month season, add the cup games in and that’s a big thing.

“There probably won't be another season where you will have games called off because a team goes down with Covid, it won't happen again.”

Jones did once again think that introducing five substitutes this term, a move he has already labelled as naive, could have aided his team and allowed them to have more options to choose from during the run-in.

He added: “This is probably the season to do it, in terms of the five subs, because you could have rotated and kept everyone fresh.

“Jordan Clark for example was injured at Hull with 10 minutes to go.

“It was such an important game and he didn’t come off so we lost him for a little bit longer.

“If we had another sub to make then we could have done that.

“I’ve been quite vocal of the fact that I thought it was really naïve, narrow-minded and short-sighted in terms of not introducing the five subs because people say we’re not a big club, but we’re an advocate of it because it means you can help to try and keep your best eleven fit.

“It doesn’t mean you can make better changes than Fulham or anyone, but I’d be an advocate of it even though we have one of the smallest budgets and the ones that should be moaning about a Fulham or Bournemouth having it but we’re not.

"It’s insanity, I can’t understand how it hasn’t been allowed because we’re still coming off the end of Covid.

"It’s a massive season and I can’t understand how they haven’t seen that.”