Shinnie praised by Hatters chief for his response during international break

Andrew Shinnie wins a header against Charlton on Tuesday night
Andrew Shinnie wins a header against Charlton on Tuesday night

Hatters midfielder Andrew Shinnie has been praised by manager Graeme Jones for the way he buckled down during the international break in a bid to win his place back in the first team.

The 30-year-old had played the majority of Town’s 2-0 defeat at Derby on October 5, before dropping to the bench for the following four games, not called upon by Jones in the win over Bristol City, plus defeats to Fulham, former side Birmingham and Nottingham Forest.

He did get the final half an hour against Reading, Town going down to a 3-0 reverse, but was back in the side on Saturday for the 2-1 defeat to Leeds, keeping his place when Charlton visited last night.

It paid dividends too as Shinnie gave a fine performance in midfield, setting up Izzy Brown’s match-winner, winning the ball back and delivering the assist for the on-loan Chelsea star to beat Addicks keeper Dillon Phillips.

On the popular Scot, Jones said: “We worked hard with Andrew Shinnie during the international break on one v ones and duels, because I love Andrew Shinnie as a player.

"But if you're losing the ball, especially in the modern game, you’re giving the opposition six attacks per half. You can’t do it.

"So I made sure Andrew knew his responsibilities, he's responded like the professional that he is, he wants to improve, didn't hide or blame people.

"He went 'okay, I'll respond to the training mentioned and I'll get better,' and he has.

"His last two performances have been excellent because we had a rhythm about us and Shins normally gives us that rhythm."

Jones firmly believes that the two week break arrived at just the right time for Luton, coming on the back of their worst display of the campaign, in losing to the Royals at the Madejski Stadium.

He insisted the work that they put in has led to an improved level of performance in their bid to stay up, during the matches with Leeds and Charlton, adding: "I know they’re willing to improve, I think we’ve come an awful long way.

"The last five defeats don't show that, but in those defeats you learn and it depends on your response to it.

"The last 13 days, we trained 10 out of 13 days, in an international break and I feel like we took our performance to another level because of the challenge of Leeds that was coming up.

"In order for us to receive that, take that on board and face that, be ready for that, I think it took our game to another level.

"Maybe we would have lost this game three or four weeks ago, so we need to thank the international break coming at a good time.

"We took advantage of that, the preparation for the Leeds game was very sobering, if we weren't at it, you can get seriously damaged.

"All of a sudden your game has arrived at a different level because of it, so i think we’ve improved again in the last fortnight.

"I'm just looking for consistency now, consistency in performance.

"There’s a lot of tactical awareness gone into the team, a lot of physicality gone into them, technically I’ve asked them to improve, mentally we’ve been working.

"So the boys have responded the right way and that’s all you can ask for."