Hatters boss expects Lincoln to be up there this term

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones has tipped today’s opponents Lincoln City to be one of the leading sides in the division this term.

The Red Imps are back in the Football League after winning promotion from the National League last seasonand got off the mark with their first win last weekend, thrashing Carlisle 4-1.

Jones expects them to be a real threat over the coming months too, saying: “They’re a good side, trust me, very organised, know what they’re doing, they’re a real physical threat and will be a forward thinking side, so we know we’re going to have to be at our best.

“I don’t think they’ll surprise a few people as that would be disrespectful, but they’ll be there or thereabouts. I’m telling you, I fancy these to be a good side, I really do.

“They’ve got a number of good players, technical players. Hopefully their resurgence will start after Saturday, but we’re in good form and we need to continue that.

“As these last two games, we knew that they were going to be tough games in terms of two away games and we want to set ourselves up nicely for a couple of home games where we’ve been outstanding.”

Opposing boss Danny Cowley has been earning rave reviews for his spell at Sincil Bank, leading the club to the FA Cup quarter-finals last year, beating Premier League Burnley along the way, before knocked out by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Jones continued: “I know Danny very well, I've got a verbal relationship with him in lots of things.

“Obviously he’s done great work with Braintree before that, Concord Rangers before that and I came up against him with my U21s side. But he has done fantastically well wherever he’s been, and he’s building a real good reputation as a manager.

“His sides know what they’re doing, they have a gameplan and they stick to it. They’re very brave in what they do, so we know it’s going to be a massively difficult game, but we’re ready for that, have got a side that can combat that and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”

Squad-wise, Luton are without both James Justin, who made his England U20s debut on Thursday night, and Luke Gambin, an unused substitute for Malta in their 4-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to England yesterday evening, while Lawson D’Ath is still out too.

Jones continued: “Lawson’s a little bit away, we’re just taking it easy with him as he’s picked up, what initially looked an innocuous one, but it’s proving a little bit more frustrating.

“The others will be fine and James and Luke will be missed from the squad, but we had two that we didn’t have on the bench last week and others that are in the squad, that will provide replacements for those.”

Meanwhile, the Hatters will be cheered on by a travelling contingent of 1,268 which could swell the attendance to nearly 9,000, as Jones added: “I don’t expect any less, I’m disappointed if they didn’t now, it’s not a surprise when they turn up, it’s more of a shock when they don’t.

“They’ve been outstanding and we didn’t give them the 45 they deserved last week. Second half we did and showed them why we have character in the side to keep going and the quality to bring off the bench.

"I was pleased with that as contrary to a lot of things, we deserved something out of the game. We were poor first half, we know that, but much better second half and I was pleased with our second half performance, but we’ve got to be better this week as we won’t get that second chance.”