Hatters boss Nathan Jones has revealed that young defender Akin Famewo’s progression this season has been stunted by injury.
The 18-year-old centre half signed his first pro contract in the summer after impressing with the youth team last term, and made his debut as a sub in the 2-1 win over Newport County.
Famewo was then handed his first league start debut at Hartlepool on September 27, producing a performance above his years in the 1-1 draw, but has only played twice since, the Checkatrade Trophy group stage games with West Brom U23s and Millwall.
On why that’s been the case, Jones said: “The thing about Akin is he’s been injured. He’s been unfortunate to pick up an injury and that’s been the thing that has cost him really.
“So his development has been slowed down a little bit because of the injury otherwise we had real good hopes for him, as he played away at Hartlepool and was doing fantastically well.”
Famewo isn’t likely to feature in the Checkatrade Trophy third round tie with Chesterfield tomorrow and when asked just what the issue with the teenager was, Jones continued: “It was a bit like Osgood–Schlatter’s he had, which is a growth thing.
His development has been slowed down a little bit because of the injury otherwise we had real good hopes for him.Nathan Jones
“That seems to have cleared up now, but its left a little bit of tendonitis or tendinopathy which he’s going to have to manage and play through for a little while until he comes through that.
“It’s a difficult one to manage especially it being your first injury, but he’ll be fine, it’s just getting him mentally prepared for that.
“He trained today, but he’s still feeling something, so we probably won’t risk him tomorrow.”
Meanwhile fellow centre half Frankie Musonda is getting back to somewhere near his best after initially appearing to drop behind Famewo in the pecking order.
The teenager had struggled in the 3-1 defeat to Millwall, but looked in prime form during the 3-2 win over Swindon Town in the last round of the Checkatrade Trophy, as Jones said: “Frankie’s gathering pace again. He’s done very well, training very well, he has the bit between his teeth.
“He’s a very confident boy, so we’re pleased with that.
“The thing with Frankie, he had a real big physical test against Millwall, and that was a good learning curve for the pair of them (Musonda and Famewo).
“Frankie seems to have learned from that as against Swindon, he was aggressive, wanted to put right some of the things that he hadn’t done quite well against Millwall.
“We’re pleased with the young players development and we want others to develop as well.”
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Tyreeq Bakinson has also been a regular for the Trophy team, but has yet to feature regularly in any recent League Two squads.
Explaining why that had been the case, Jones said: The trouble is he had such a meteoric one as again we had decent hopes for him as he had such a good pre-season and was excellent in the early games.
“He pushed himself right in the frame and now he’s plateaued to a level that we knew he would be.
“But we’re very pleased with Tyreeq and he’ll be involved in some capacity tomorrow.
“They all have an initial exuberance about them as they’re in the with the first team and they go through the roof quite quickly.
“But then when they plateau, it’s important that they don’t go down, they just find their level and then it’s up to us to keep improving that level, in the training, the coaching we give them.
“He’s an important one to us, has all the characteristics of being a top player and we’re looking forward to seeing his development.”