Hatters midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu has been urged to stay at the top of his game by new Town boss Nathan Jones.
The explosive 23-year-old was handed his first start since October 24 by Jones during Luton’s 2-0 win at Mansfield on Saturday, and netted his first goal since the 1-1 draw with Bury in August 2014 in the process.
“There’s no point in doing that for one game, he has to do that for another 18 if he wants to play.”Nathan Jones
Ruddock Mpanzu has been blighted by injuries since his permanent move from West Ham back in January 2014 and is in line for back to back starts for the first time since October 2014 this weekend.
Jones said: “I’m just learning about Pelly and he’s done well since he’s been in training, hence he’s been given the opportunity.
“I saw something in him in the training we’ve done and that’s why we gave him the opportunity. What’s happened is he’s responded, or he responded last week.
“But there’s no point in doing that for one game, he has to do that for another 18 if he wants to play.
“We don’t just hand people starts, they have to work hard they have to graft, for whatever reason he hasn’t started before, that’s fine, but things can happen, people can have new leases of life.
“Maybe he wasn’t performing well enough to be picked before, I think he picked up a bad injury which curtailed certain parts of his development, but it’s just one of those things.”
Winger Paddy McCourt was left impressed by Ruddock Mpanzu’s impact at the One Call Stadium, especially his strike for the second goal, that the Northern Irishman played his part in too.
He said: “It was a great finish, he showed his power, he’s a very, very powerful lad.
“It wasn’t a great ball by myself, sort of a hangy ball, he’s managed to get his body and held the lad off, spun him.
“When you’re coming up against the power that Pelly has, the left back had no chance really, he just brushed him aside.
“Pelly’s probably been a bit more unfortunate than myself as he’s had a bad ankle injury so he did well to last as long as he did. He did really well and he’ll be delighted too with a goal and an assist too.”
New Luton signing Alan Sheehan admitted he hadn’t come across the former Hammer prior to joining Luton, but was well aware of him now, adding: “I’d never seen him before, but I felt a lot of love for him after that second goal,
“It was a great goal, he’s a big, strong boy, direct, I can only judge him on the game, and he worked really hard for the team.
“I don’t really know a whole lot about him, but think if he keeps on playing like that, we’ll know a lot more about him.”