Town chief wants goals and assists from McManaman

Callum McManaman nets his first goal for the Hatters earlier this month
Callum McManaman nets his first goal for the Hatters earlier this month

Luton boss Graeme Jones wants attacker Callum McManaman to add goals to his game for the Hatters this season.

The 28-year-old summer signing opened his account for the Hatters against Millwall earlier this month, on target for the first time in a year, although that previous 12 months was largely spent on the bench during a frustrating campaign at Wigan Athletic.

He has scored just 22 times in all competitions since turning pro in his first spell with the Latics in 2008, often preferring to set up a team-mate rather than go for glory himself.

That’s something Jones wants to alter though, as he said: “He prides himself on assists and that’s what I want to change.

“Obviously, being a winger, that’s what you’re judged on and I think he’ll always give that.

“He’s one of the best crossers of the ball, he gets half a yard and I don’t care how good a defender you are, you don’t get close to him.

“He played a little bit further forward against Millwall and he was in the box to score a goal.

“I know he’s got goals in him as well, as he’s scored in big games.

“I can see him now scoring in an FA Cup semi-final, a real striker’s finish, goes through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and chips him.

“I can see him scoring against West Brom in the Premier League for Wigan.

“Callum’s got goals in him it’s just we’re at a point now where we’d like Callum to put the assists and the goals together for a consistent period.

“If he can do that for us we’ll certainly have a good spell.”

After starting Town’s first three Championship outings, McManaman suffered with a groin injury that kept him out for just over a month.

However, he featured against Blackburn Rovers and Millwall, restored to the starting line-up for the 2-0 defeat at Derby County as Jones believes he has improved his fitness even more during the international break.

He added: “The good thing about Callum, because he can play different positions, we can change shapes on the pitch with him.

“I really like where he is, physically and mentally.

“I always knew with Callum that he needed a period of work and staying fit and we’ve had that now.

“It’s four months since he came back for pre-season and I really like where Callum is.

“Yesterday (Thursday) and Wednesday in training, he covered the most distance and most high intensity so it gives you an indication of where he is physically.

“That wasn’t the case two months ago.

“We have to use them correctly, the styles of players against the team you're playing against, it’s really important, but I like what he’s giving us.”