Town boss doesn't want to have to raid his bench at half time against Watford

Hatters chief looking to get it tactically right in derby clash

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:02 am
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:18 am
Luton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones is hoping he doesn’t have to make any substitutions at half time during tomorrow’s derby clash against local rivals Watford.

In both of the Hatters’ last two games against Barnsley and Wycombe, the Town chief has had to raid his bench during the interval after a poor opening 45 minutes has seen Luton trailing 1-0 on both occasions.

It worked wonders last weekend, as the Hatters hit back to score three times late on and win 3-1, but Jones doesn’t want it to become a regular occurrence, saying: “I evaluate stuff, so either I’ve got it tactically wrong and I’ve needed to change and I’m big enough to hold my hands up at times that I’ve got it tactically wrong, or, they’re not implementing the game-plan, so sometimes you need to change.

“It was just a little bit flat (on Saturday), there was nothing in the game.

“I know Gareth (Ainsworth) spoke about he didn’t see us creating anything, but as soon as half time came, the impetus changed in the game.

“We were on the front foot, we were far better and I’m sure we would have created enough to have got something from the game, I believe that.

"Because as well as they kind of felt they played, they didn’t really cause us any problems whereas it was about us stepping up, which we did.

“The red card helped as we had the numerical advantage, but we finished very, very strongly, we had a number of chances and we showed a clinical edge which was very good.

“But I would like to start better and not have to make changes as two things, it means one the players are not implementing the game-plan, so we have to change, or, I’ve got it wrong tactically and I don’t like getting it wrong tactically.

“So I hope that whoever I choose at the weekend, we implement it and we all look good."

Two of Jones' substitutes at the weekend, Kazenga LuaLua and George Moncur could now be in with a chance of starting against Watford now after their impressive displays off the bench.

Moncur, who came on for the final 13 minutes, scored the leveller, expertly bending his free kick around the wall and into the bottom corner, before LuaLua, introduced 10 minutes into the second period made it 2-1, arrowing a wonderful drive into the top corner.

Although neither of the pair have begun a Championship contest for over a month, on whether they are closer to his starting plans tomorrow, Jones added: "Yes, they’re always in my thoughts, but I’ve got a good group here, we haven’t got any passengers.

"It's tough on them sometimes, but these are players that can turn a game, these are players that can create something out of nothing and they showed that.

"We’ve had big asks of them as they haven’t played as many minutes but they responded, George is a great lad, Kaz I’ve known for years, and they’ve shown they can respond and impact.

"I didn’t play for example Callum McManaman too many minutes last year, but he had a big impact, equaliser against Preston, wonderful against Leeds, work-rate, came on and helped us to secure wins away from home, and that’s the type of things we’re asking from people.

"Some get frustrated, some don’t want to do that role, but some buy into everything and when they’re called upon, for however long, they do that and it’s about now we’ve got to finish strongly.

"Some will play games now that haven’t featured as much and it will be a good season for them and that’s what we say, be ready for that opportunity and we’ve got a group that invariably are, they’re a good group."