Skipper Bradley makes his case for a strong Luton defence

Town captain yet to concede a goal in his 180 minutes on the pitch

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 14th October 2021, 6:45 am
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 8:59 am
Sonny Bradley slides in to make a challenge against Coventry recently
Sonny Bradley slides in to make a challenge against Coventry recently

Luton skipper Sonny Bradley knows that if Town can continue their impressive clean sheet return this season it will given them a great chance of improving on their finish of 12th place last term.

Following on from a campaign in which the Hatters managed 15 Championship shut-outs, Luton have maintained their solid defensive base this term, preventing Swansea, Coventry, Sheffield United, Barnsley and Peterborough from breaching their back-line.

Although Bradley missed the first part of the season after contracting a serious bout of Covid, he has returned as part of a back three that are yet to concede in 180 minutes of football.

Speaking after the goalless draw against the Terriers last time out, he said: “It’s a really good stat.

"If you keep that up for the season you’re on for 20 clean sheets which if you keep 20 clean sheets in this division or more than that, you’re looking at a top six finish at least.

“So it’s something we’re proud of, we want to build on it, but me, Locks (Tom Lockyer) and Naisy (Kal Naismith), we haven’t really played as a back three at all.

“So in a short space of time we’ve learned a lot about each other, we’ve developed already and it’s just about building on it and showing some real consistency in our performance.”

Although Town keeper Simon Sluga has kept the joint most clean sheets in the second tier this term, on five with Birmingham's Matija Sarkic, he has picked the ball out of his net 16 times in Luton's other six matches, conceding five against Birmingham and three to both West Bromwich Albion and Swansea.

Boss Nathan Jones said: "We’ve had five in 11, the thing that’s really crazy as the two games where we’ve really conceded, there were five here against Birmingham which was a freak game and then second half (against Swansea) where three shots from outside the box, three deflections, cost us dearly.

"But generally we’ve been excellent and we don’t sit in and be pragmatic, we go after teams and hunt teams down, that’s a great trait to have.

"The Leeds team when they got promoted, did that, now we haven’t got as big a budget and quite the quality of those yet, but I’m just pleased with how we are gathering, how Luton Town are looking at the minutes.

"I think we’re developing a reputation and I like that, and we're only going to get better, plus we’re still well within our evolution process and that will gather more."

With Jones adding plenty of athleticism to his forward line this season and both Harry Cornick and Elijah Adebayo starting in impressive form, Bradley has enjoyed seeing them press the life out of opposing teams at times, none more so than in the recent 5-0 victory over Coventry.

He continued: “It’s exciting to watch from the back, but you have to make sure you don’t become a spectator as you’ve still got a job to do.

“There are really good teams in this division, a high press is not going to work every week, we have to be realistic.

"You’re going to play against some really good footballing teams who are going to play out and eventually they are going to get out even if we press.

“We have be on it all the time, but it’s exciting when you see Harry and Elijah, Jordan Clark, bombing on at people, Bezza (Luke Berry) against Coventry, a great press on and gets us a goal.

“We’ve got that energy, we’ve got a real strong group of players who can run all day.

“Our attitude is you run as hard as you can for as long as you can and if you blow up after 60, 70 minutes, there will be someone to come on and do your job.

“So I’m really proud of the boys for how they approach every game, as to play for this team at the minute you have to have high fitness levels as you’re going to be needed on a Saturday.

“It’s exciting stuff, we’ve just got to continue moving in the right direction and if we keep with the attitude we’ve got, then we’ll certainly improve on last season’s finish.”