Hatters are still setting their sights on a top three berth

Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones

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Hatters boss Nathan Jones has challenged his side to improve on the form that they showed after he took over at Kenilworth Road last season to reach the top three this season.

When Jones was appointed in January 2016, Luton were struggling in 17th place, with just 30 points from 25 games.

If we have the same kind of second half as we had last year, we’ll finish in the play-offs, so if we’re actually better, we go for automatic.

Nathan Jones

They eventually finished with a total of 66 points, after the former Brighton first team coach picked up 31 points from his 21 matches in charge.

After Saturday’s victory over Crewe, Luton’s 25th fixture of the campaign, they moved to 41 points, 11 points better off than at the same stage last term.

Should Town mirror the tally gained by Jones during his first five months at the helm, it should be enough to end up in the play-offs, but the Luton boss is looking higher than that.

He said: “We’re at the stage now where we were when I took over and we’re in a good place, with a better squad.

“We were kind of comparing where we are and we have an 11 point difference of where we were when I first took over, with a stronger side.

“So lets see where we can finish. Because if we have the same kind of second half as we had last year, we’ll finish in the play-offs, so if we’re actually better, we go for automatic.”

Going up without the need for the play-offs is something that’s firmly on striker Danny Hylton’s mind, as he believes first placed Doncaster, 14 points clear of Town, are still catchable.

He added: “They’re doing well, they’re there to be shot down aren’t they.

“Northampton did it this time last year. They went on a run and I think they went from the play-offs to winning League Two, so we still believe we can get in there and win the league.

“We need to find a little bit more consistency, but I still believe we’ll be in the top three. The squad we’ve got is a terrific squad, some great players are here, and I think we’ll come strong this time of the season.”

Striker Jack Marriott hasn’t given up either, with Luton six points off third, and with a game in hand now.

He said: “We’re not going to stop pushing. We’ve got that kind of mentality and we’ve got that from the gaffer.

“The players are all very strong minded and we’re not going to stop. We’ll just keep going and see what happens. You keep working hard and you’ll soon reap the rewards.”