No sentiment for Luton chief Jones as he heads back to Latics

Town manager up against his former side this weekend
Hatters boss Graeme JonesHatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Haters boss Graeme Jones will have absolutely no sentiment ahead of his return to Wigan Athletic this weekend.

The Luton chief turned out for the Latics during his playing days, signing from Doncaster Rovers in 1996 and scored over 50 goals during three seasons at Springfield Park.

He headed across the border to St Johnstone in November 1999, but was then back at the club as number two to Robert Martinez in 2009, the pair surviving in the Premier League for three seasons, delivering a stunning FA Cup final win over Manchester City in 2013.

Although it’s a club that Jones clearly holds dear to his heart, he will put those feelings aside come 3pm tomorrow, saying: “I played three years at Springfield Park and a year at the JJB, as it was then, then I had four years there as an assistant manager.

“My home’s in the area, but I’ve got no sentiment at all on Saturday, I’m not looking at it that way.

“It will be nice to see some familiar faces, who are friends as I've spent that much time at the club.

"But emotionally I’m completely detached and am only looking at the game rationally on behalf of Luton Town.”

The turn of the year has seen Wigan make dramatic steps to avoiding relegation back into League One, winning six of their 11 Championship outings, including beating both Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion on the road.

Paul Cook’s side are currently on a run of three straight victories as well, second in the form table, just above the Hatters who have taken one point less in the last five matches.

Jones continued: “I’ve looked at them three times now and I’ve watched our game back (2-1 win for Luton), so there’s a marked difference in their style and their shape.

“Paul’s definitely found personnel that suit that shape and they’re a handful.

“They’ve done it at Leeds as well which started the ball rolling a little bit for them.

“Obviously it’s a club I know well, a club I follow, in terms of the results.

"We’re on a fantastic run in the last five, they’re on an even better run, so it’s going to be interesting at the weekend.”

Striker Kieffer Moore is starting to flourish for the Latics after joining on an undisclosed free from Barnsley in the summer, with four goals in his last eight matches, having struggled earlier in the season.

He notched during Wigan’s 2-1 defeat at Kenilworth Road back in December, as a wary Jones added: “I thought he was a threat against us in the game down here, he scored, but he looks like he’s matured, looks like he’s improved.

“So he’s somebody we’re going to have to be aware of.

“They’ve got Joe Williams, Antonee Robinson, I know his AC Milan move broke down and he didn’t go in the end, but he’s very athletic.

“Joe has got a heart like a bucket, he’s somebody who’s been out on loan (when at Everton), Wigan have invested in him.

“He’s part of a system at the minute that really, really suits him, he looks very comfortable as one of the main players for Wigan.”