Jones admits he rushed Sheehan back too early

Alan Sheehan in action against Doncaster
Alan Sheehan in action against Doncaster

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted he was guilty of rushing centre half Alan Sheehan back from injury earlier than he should have done.

The 30-year-old, who was injured before kick-off on the opening day at Plymouth Argyle, came back for the games with Grimsby and Crawley, and didn’t look his usual self, with Luton going down to back-to-back defeats.

Sheehan was then dropped to the bench for Saturday’s League Two clash against Doncaster Rovers, before replacing Scott Cuthbert midway through the first half and delivered an excellent display, both defensively and going forward, as Luton triumphed 3-1.

Jones said: “He looked better than he has been, I brought him back probably too early, that was my fault and I told him that.

“That’s why we took him back out Saturday to not put the pressure on him as we felt we’d rushed him back.

“He knows he’s important to us and how we play, and what he does for us. So it was important we bring him back at the right time and when he’s in full fitness, he wasn’t, but we wanted to get him back and we did, we gambled and it didn’t really pay off.

It was important we bring him back at the right time and when he’s in full fitness, he wasn’t, but we wanted to get him back and we did, we gambled and it didn’t really pay off.

Nathan Jones

“So now we feel he’s a bit more at the level than we expect from him.”

Cuthbert had been dropped from the side after Luton’s most convincing display of the season, beating Wycombe 4-1, although is now set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a neck injury against Rovers on Saturday.

On his absence, Jones continued: “That’s part and parcel of football, as he probably unfairly lost his place in the side after an excellent performance against Wycombe, so he would have been keen to do well.

“But I know what I get from him, he’s my captain and he’s a great leader for us, so he’ll bounce back and we want him back as soon as possible.”

The Town skipper needed treatment for eight minutes on Saturday after he was injured when Doncaster took the lead, but has has since taken to the club’s Facebook page to give the all clear.

He wrote: “Thankfully got home late last night after an eventful day. Thanks to the paramedics, nurses and doctors of luton and dunstable hospital for looking after me.

“Relieved all the scans came back clear and delighted the boys managed to get a massive result. Thanks for the support and see you in a couple of weeks!”

Jones shared Cuthbert’s relief that the injury hadn’t turned out to be anything serious either, adding: “As I said on Saturday, we were hoping it looked worse than it was, but when you have some kind of neck injury, whatever it might be, the way that they immobilise you and put you on a stretcher, the precautionary measures they take, sometimes makes the injury look horrific.

“We were hopeful that it wasn’t the bad side of an injury. He aggravated some nerves which made for no feeling down one side of the body, when you worry.

“It’s nerve damage though and god willing, hopefully a matter of days rather than weeks or as it was feared, then months.”