Hatters boss Nathan Jones knows full well how important it is to manage talented full back James Justin correctly during his debut season.
The 18-year-old, who was only handed his first pro deal back in November last year, has really caught the eye when breaking into the first team this term, making 13 appearances so far.
He’s a superb prospect for us and one we’re delighted to have.Nathan Jones
However, he was taken off at half time against Solihull Moors in the FA Cup on Saturday for Stephen O’Donnell, with the replacement scoring twice as Luton triumphed 6-2.
Justin was back in the side for the Checkatrade Trophy 3-2 win at Swindon Town in midweek, and after being caught out for the first goal, went on to give another highly assured performance, setting up Isaac Vassell’s winner.
Jones said: “I wouldn’t quite say he’s dipped, I would probably just say he’s plateaued a little bit in terms of his performance because he was so young and came in and was outstanding.
“Then people expect that, but he’s in good form, he was part of a real good team performance the other night.
“It was a learning curve for the goal, but he’ll learn from that and I was an experienced full back and I did that.
“He’s a superb prospect for us and one we’re delighted to have.
“Sometimes you pull them in and out because sometimes they will plateau, they won’t just keep going and going which was important that we manage him right.
“But we’ve also got real good competition, so if he does have a slight dip then bang we’ve got good competition and that’s a squad.”
Just because Justin played against the Robins though on Tuesday night, it doesn’t mean that he and any of the rest of the side picked by Jones won’t be in contention to start this weekend for the home clash with Carlisle.
Jones added: “That’s the squad, they don’t play in the Checkatrade because they’re not part of my plans or anything.
“They play in it because we want to do well, so we’ve assembled a squad to compete on all levels.
“Praise the lord we’ve got a good injury record at the minute, so we’ve got all of them fit and they’re all competing.
“We made one or two changes for the FA Cup game, because we felt we needed to win the game.
“We’ll pick a side we feel is capable of beating Carlisle on the weekend.
“They give you a headache every day because I see them train, so the decisions I have are daily decisions and then I have them every week.
“So it’s not just they’ve done well, all that’s done is reiterate the fact that yes I believe in them, but I have the same headaches that I had last week and the week before that and pretty much every week since I’ve been here.”