Roberts-Smith revealed he jumped at the chance to return to Kenilworth Road

Head of sports science was eager to work with boss Nathan Jones again

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 6th August 2021, 9:11 am
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 9:12 am
Jared Roberts-Smith puts the Hatters players through their paces
Jared Roberts-Smith puts the Hatters players through their paces

Luton Town Jared Roberts-Smith revealed he jumped at the chance to return to Kenilworth Road and link up with boss Nathan Jones once more.

The 31-year-old had been part of a highly successful backroom staff under Jones during his first spell as Hatters boss, arriving in the summer of 2016 and playing his part as Town won promotion to League One, where they were sitting in second place.

Roberts-Smith then decided to move to Stoke City with the Welshman in January 2019, staying on once Jones was sacked just eight months later, before leaving the bet365 Stadium himself in August last year and going to work in Australia with Melbourne Victory.

When that stint ended he got the call from Jones and was quick to make his back to the Bedfordshire as speaking to the club's official website, he said: “To say it’s good to be back would be an understatement.

“Although I’ve learnt a lot over the last two and half years I’ve been away and the fact it’s made me a much better practitioner, nothing has matched my time at Luton.

“I have been in regular contact with the manager who has always been a strong influence on my career, and as soon as we discussed the opportunity to come back, I jumped at it.

“Alongside the gaffer, the board, Gary Sweet (chief executive) and Paul Watson (general operations manager) have been great with me and it’s people like this who are a huge draw in coming back due to the way they operate and lead the club.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to pick up where we left off.

"As a whole, the people, the environment, the culture of hard work and ambitious nature of everyone behind the scenes is all second to none and the club is special - something Luton fans should be really proud of.

“Being back at the Kenny for two pre-season games was great and I turned round to Daz (Cook, masseur and kitman) during the warm-up against Portsmouth and said 'it’s so good to be back!'

“To see that many fans turn out for a pre-season game and create the atmosphere they did, was great and it has put a little bounce into your step going into the final few days before the season starts.”

Going into more detail about just how the last six weeks have been for the club, with a new-look Luton squad including eight summer signings returning to the Brache for another crack at the Championship, Roberts-Smith continued: “Pre-season has been excellent.

“The gaffer and the recruitment team got their work done early which is great across a number of aspects as it allows us to get eyes on the new recruits and get hands on with players from the off.

“It also allows them to begin to integrate with the group, add to the environment and get a feel for the hard-working culture we implement on a day-to-day basis.

“There is a good blend of young, hungry players and experienced professionals which has helped establish a top group, that have really put their heads down and done some hard, but rewarding work over the last few weeks.

"We had a great week away at in York which for me was one of the best pre-season trips I have been on.

“These are key aspects to a training week and when facilities are this good it really gives you the ability to complete work to the highest standards which we always aim to do.

"The hard work has continued at the Brache and the lads have been challenged in the heat but have stood up to everything we have asked of them.

“On top of the hard training, we have had some really good games which provide good opportunities to lay down the foundations in match situations with regards to fitness but also technically and tactically."

It’s not just on the pitch that the Hatters are improving either, as Roberts-Smith was quick to point out the adjustments made to the way the club are operating off it.

He added: It has been great to come back in and see that the club has continued the trend of looking to improve every aspect of the infrastructure, even despite the constraints and challenges Covid-19 has presented.

"Obviously, I look at the sports science aspects more closely than any other and to see such improvements really shows the club is pushing in the right direction.

"New areas of improvement include some really important monitoring systems that have been put into place which allow us to track where the players are both on the pitches with regards to monitoring fitness adaptations, but also in the gym focused around the players’ strength and power competencies.

"This provides scope and structure for our work and allows us to highlight both collective areas for improvement as well as more individualised approaches.

"Other areas include in the kitchen where the club have put a new team of chefs (Alex, Shaun and Martin) in place led by Cristiano (Andrade da Silva, catering & hospitality manager), which has taken the food on a day to day basis to another level.

"This is so important to help optimally fuel and recover the players so they can do what we ask of them on the training pitches and to help avoid injury.

"To supplement this, we have also introduced Ted Munson, our new performance nutritionist, who has been working closely with both the nutrition team and playing squad to improve every aspect of our players prep and recovery.

Since my return we have had some really positive discussions targeting further improvements, so I look forward to helping shape these alongside the gaffer and wider coaching staff to help push towards our targets.”