Jones hopes Wilkinson gets a good reception from Luton fans

Luke Wilkinson in action for Stevenage - pic: Joe Pepler
Luke Wilkinson in action for Stevenage - pic: Joe Pepler
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Hatters boss Nathan Jones hopes defender Luke Wilkinson gets a good reception on his return to Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

The popular 25-year-old was one of the first casualties of the new Town manager’s reign, allowed to join Stevenage on a free transfer in the January transfer window as Jones brought in Alan Sheehan on loan.

“He’s a good player, there was no bad feeling, no malice, we had to do a certain bit of business, so I hope they get a good reception.”

Nathan Jones

Wilkinson is one of five ex-Hatters in the Boro squad including Fraser Franks, Aaron O’Connor, Ronnie Henry and Keith Keane, while former assistant boss Terry Harris is now number two to boss Darren Sarll.

Jones said: “Luke Wilkinson was excellent for me when he was here and after Saturday I wish him all the best.

“He’s a good player, there was no bad feeling, no malice, we had to do a certain bit of business, so I hope he gets a good reception and is well thought of.

“They’ve got one or two ex-Luton, so that adds a bit of spice as well, plus it’s a local derby with a good crowd, and those are the games you want to be involved in.

“So we’re looking forward to the game, our fans have been outstanding, they really have.

“The away games they’ve turned up and been superb and we ask for a big effort from them again as the players are going to put in a big effort.”

Stevenage are under new management with former boss Teddy Sheringham sacked earlier this year, with Sarll being promoted from his position as first team coach.

A poor run of form, leaving Boro third bottom and just seven points above the relegation zone, has also seen the club bring in former West Ham and Newcastle boss Glen Roeder as a managerial advisor too, as Jones continued: “I know very little about Darren Sarll, I know certain things about him as I have a relationship with Leon Hunter who’s close to Stevenage and know they think very highly and have done for a number of years of Darren.

“They’ve changed manager and brought in certain people as well, Glenn Roeder’s come in and will add a real good experience and a know how.

“Darren has a growing reputation anyway, so that’s good little fit for them there and I wish him all the best after Saturday, as it’s a lovely club and has got good people there.”

Boro have utilised the loan market drastically this season, using 45 players in their League Two matches, compared to Town’s tally of 31, but whether that made it more difficult when preparing for the match, Jones added: “Unless they bring in absolute random players who we know nothing about them it could cause an issue, but the players they’ve brought in, we’ve got a knowledge about them.

“They fit into a shape, a system, and I wouldn’t say it will massively transform how they play or what they do.

“It would add certain things to them you would imagine, because you don’t bring in a loan if he’s going to weaken your squad.

“They’ve added a few, I know Charlie Adams from his Brentford days, they’re decent players but we can’t affect Stevenage.

“We have to concentrate on what Luton do and that’s all we can worry about, whatever Stevenage bring it will be a test anyway.”