Luton Town boss Nathan Jones has confirmed he will make the ‘necessary changes’ for tomorrow’s EFL Checkatrade Trophy group stage game against West Bromwich Albion U23s.
When Hatters last played at Gillingham in the competition, Jones made 11 changes to his side, giving debuts to the likes of Kavan Cotter, Craig King and Alex Atkinson, while substitute Connor Tomlinson became Luton’s youngster ever player at just 15 years and 199 days with his late cameo.
We will make the necessary changes to the team, to make sure that we’re competitive in all games, and we’ll be playing a very, very strong squad.Nathan Jones
There might be a touch more experience included at Kenilworth Road this time, with the likes of Stephen O’Donnell, Jake Gray, Jonathan Smith and Alex Gilliead all needing games, as Jones said: “We’ve embraced the competition for what we’ve needed from it, we really freshened up the squad for the last game and gave some valuable game time to a lot of our players and gave debuts to a lot.
“Tomorrow we will make the necessary changes to the team, to make sure that we’re competitive in all games, and we’ll be playing a very, very strong squad.
“It probably won’t be quite as young as last time, as we have a real strong squad and an almost fit squad as there’s only Johnny Mullins and Glen Rea and (Craig) Mackail-Smith who are all really, really close to full returns that we have missing.
“We need to test people as well because it’s going to be a long season and with the new loan windows and rules, we need to make sure that all our squad is ready.
“We know people are going to pick up injuries and suspensions so that’s why games like the EFL Trophy have proved very, very useful in that way.
“I probably made unforced changes in the Crawley game because we needed to test players and it’s early in the season, so I’m clear on moving forward on one or two of them.
“I’m looking forward to the team I put out tomorrow and seeing how everyone does, because it’s a real competitive first team, team, so I want to see how they do in this.”
Deadline day addition Jack Senior could make his Luton debut too after recovering from a calf injury picked in training as Jones continued: “Jack is in the squad for tomorrow, we’re pleased to have him back as we’ve been quite excited about him and making his debut for us.
“We’ve had to wait due to a little bit of a knock, but he’s been flying in training.”
There were thoughts that Hatters would have been fined £5k for the amount of changes made by Jones for their last match, which saw them win 2-1 at Priestfield, but the boss wasn’t aware of any such penalty being imposed.
He added: “I’m not sure, I hope not, because we put out a really competitive squad and we played fantastically well on the night.
“We won the game, so I’m puzzled if we did, so let’s hope not.
“It’s important that these players have games and we’ve embraced the new format that’s come in.
“We haven’t flaunted it or treated it lightly in anyway and we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow.”