Luton chief would love to lead his side out at Wembley

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes it would be a ‘wonderful’ achievement to lead the club out at Wembley in his first full season in charge.

The 43-year-old, who took over in January of last year, is 90 minutes away from reaching the Checkatrade Trophy final, with Coventry City waiting for the winners of tonight’s clash between Luton and Oxford United.

We’re one game away but we’ve got to concentrate on a very good Oxford side and winning that game.

Nathan Jones

On the chance of actually doing it, Jones said: “Make no bones about it, it would be a wonderful achievement for the club.

“It’s great for the fans, but also personally, my first proper year in management.

“It would be a wonderful achievement, at the minute, credit’s gone to the squad that we’ve got and the way the club has treated the tournament.

“We’re one game away but we’ve got to concentrate on a very good Oxford side and winning that game.

“It’s got to the business end of the competition and it’s a big night for both clubs, so it should be a good game with two good sides in good form.”

Standing in Town’s way are an Oxford side who go into the fixture on the back of a run of 10 wins out of 13 in all competitions.

Jones has been a long time admirer of the work done by the U’s under boss Michael Appleton, as he continued: “You don’t get to semi-finals in anything unless you’re doing something right and Oxford are a very good side.

“I said last year that they were as good a side as there was in the league, I probably said they were the best side in the league.

“I know that might have upset a few Northampton people by saying that, but I didn’t mean that detrimentally.

“I just meant if they get up, they had the best capability of prolonging that, and they did.

“I thought they were an excellent side last year, they could hurt you in a number of ways and I believe they can do that this year.

“But we’re a good side ourselves and we’ll be concentrating on doing the things that we do best.

“They’re a good side and it will be a very, very difficult game. I think they’ve made changes on the weekend to go even stronger than they did in the league.

“So they’re treating the competition the same as we are, with the utmost respect.

“They got to the final last year, they want to do it again and it shows what a good club and a consistent club they are.

“Credit to the manager there, but we’re in good form ourselves, a very confident group, so let’s see where we can go.”

Hatters have been in superb form in the Trophy so far this term, beating higher division sides in Gillingham, West Brom U23s, Swindon and Chesterfield, while hammering Yeovil 5-2 in the previous round.

Jones didn’t think the players had been able to relax in these matches away from the slog of League Two, adding: “I think different games, different pressures.

“We’ve really done well in this competition, we’ve scored goals and looked fluent and I hope that continues.

“We don’t treat the game any differently.

“Every single thing about our prep work for the Checkatrade game is the same as the league games, it shouldn’t be any less or any more pressure on either.”

Meanwhile, defender Johnny Mullins was clearly a fan of the competition too, adding: “The fines were laughable, but the way that the young lads have progressed us in the competition has been excellent.

“Hopefully whoever plays on Wednesday can finish the job and we all win together.”