Hatters boss would love a repeat showing of City performance against Reds

Hatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Town chief Graeme Jones wants his side to turn in a repeat showing of the level of performance that saw them brush aside Bristol City at Kenilworth Road recently when Nottingham Forest are the visitors this afternoon.

Just a fortnight ago, the Hatters saw off the Robins 3-0 in front of their own fans with their best victory of the season, while they kept a first shut out in the league as well.

Now the Luton players have been charged with replicating that display, as Jones said: “We had a really positive result against Bristol City and will be looking to repeat that.

“That was the definition of where we want to be without a doubt, but everybody wants to keep a clean sheet and score three goals every week.

“It’s obviously not going to happen, but we made real progress with that performance and that result, so the key now is to try and repeat that on a consistent basis.

“You use aspects of that without a doubt, but every game is so unique.

“If you think about the two games that followed, you go away to a possession side in Fulham, who are outstanding, the most passes in the league, incredible individuals.

“Then two days later you’re playing against a team (Birmingham) whose biggest strength is their off the ball intensity.

“It lets you know how impossible it is this league to try and knock out the same product every week.

"Certainly where we are at the minute, it’s different games which bring completely different challenges.”

After playing three games in seven days, with the final two matches coming on Wednesday and Sunday, Jones has been relieved by having a week to prepare his side for this contest.

When asked if attackers Harry Cornick and James Collins are ready to be restored to the starting line-up after beginning on the bench at St Andrews, Jones continued: “They’re certainly fresh, but I think everybody’s had a good week.

“The three games in seven days, it’s very intense, very demanding, mentally and physically, so I’ve been pleased with the response this week.

“It’s nice we’ve had a free week and we can plan and we can look at things in detail.

“I always enjoy the four or five day build ups than the quick turnarounds, so I’m just looking forward to seeing the product.”

Forest are under new management this season with former French international Sabri Lamouchi taking over from Martin O’Neill in the summer.

He’s something of an unknown quantity to Jones, although the Luton chief has been impressed by the manner in which he has started life in England.

He said: “I don’t know him at all, obviously I’ve watched his style of play, and you can see his work there.

“It’s choices, very different to, for example, Neil Warnock, how he does things, and there’s lots of different routes to different decisions.

"I like how his team plays, but they’re competitors and we’re looking to win the game.

“They’re a possession side, really, really good patterns of play on the ball, some outstanding individuals that we need to be aware of.

"That’s the big thing in this league, there’s two or three individuals in Forest’s teams who can really, really hurt you, so we need to stop them and then on top of that we need to be ourselves.”

The Reds had been in second place up until recently, before losing two games in a row, as the pressure has been ramped up at the City Ground once more this season to make a return to the Premier League.

On the job of managing such levels of expectancy, Jones added: “He’s got the players for that, he spent a lot of money, there’s players on big salaries there.

“The different expectations are there for whatever club.

“We haven’t spent that kind of money, but the expectations are there in a different way.

“Fulham have spent big money, they pay big money, their expectations are different.

"I think you have to be realistic where you are and try to achieve those expectations, no matter what club you’re at, but you’ve got 23 other teams trying to stop you from achieving those expectations, so it’s never been an easy job.

“Nottingham Forest, you’re talking about two European Cup wins less than 40 years ago, in our recent history.

“All of us here remember John Robertson and Brian Clough and Peter Taylor and Trevor Francis winning the European Cup two years on the trot, that’s how much they’re steeped in history.

“But we’re not playing history, we’re playing another 11 and we need to see it that way.

“We’ve lost two in a row as well, so it’s a level playing field.

“They missed their Saturday game, so I’m sure there’ll come here fresh, but so will we.

"I'm just looking forward to the game, assess it on its own merits, then as long as we get our lads to max out, we’ll be competitive.”