Hatters’ start pleases Jones although he knows more is to come

Stephen O'Donnell heads the danger clear against Cambridge
Stephen O'Donnell heads the danger clear against Cambridge

Town boss Nathan Jones was more than satisfied with the start he got from his side during his first game in charge against Cambridge United on Saturday, but was well aware that’s all it was.

Hatters ended a run of three straight defeats with the goalless draw, picking up their first clean sheet at Kenilworth Road since beating Barnet 2-0 on November 14.

“It’s not fairy tale stuff, but it’s not going to be fairy tale stuff, it’s going to be progress, small quick steps.”

Nathan Jones

Jones was happy with the response he received from the players after taking over recently and now expects them to build on that in the coming weeks.

He said: “It’s a start. I asked them to give me a work-rate, I think the crowd saw that, we had a work-rate and a desire about us, and I thought it was a good clean sheet.

“To build and to go forward we have to keep clean sheets and we did that.

“I’m not renowned for a defensive manager in any shape or form, but I thought they were excellent, how they went about their stuff, a clean sheet and a first point on the board, so it’s a start.

“It’s not fairy tale stuff, but it’s not going to be fairy tale stuff, it’s going to be progress, small quick steps.

“I would have loved to win the game, but more important than that it’s seeing how we go forward and I got a real good attitude, got a 90 minute performance from them.

“We will get more fluent, we will try and score goals, we will be a positive side, I promise you that, but I’m happy with a point, it’s a start.”

Jones did praise the central defensive pairing of Magnus Okuonghae and Scott Cuthbert too, who he selected for the clash, leaving Luke Wilkinson on the bench.

The duo had been responsible of a number of individual errors in recent weeks, but cut them out to deliver a solid performance at the back against the in-form Barry Corr.

Jones continued: “Players are going to make mistakes, it’s not about highlighting mistakes all the time, but it’s about improving our players and that’s what we’re going to try and do.

“They’ve been excellent, the two of them were excellent, contained an aerial bombardment if you like from Cambridge.

“The whole back four were excellent and the two in front of them were excellent, so defensively I felt chances were at a premium for Cambridge, and that’s a credit to how we set up.

“Cambridge are a good side, a positive side. They changed shape, a difficult diamond, but we contained that and then they changed in the end, so I’m pleased as they’ve got good energy, a manager who plays that way, who will manage that way and they’ve got decent players.

“Barry Corr’s a threat at this level, a real threat, and we contained it, I’m proud of them.”

Town also had far more attempts of their own than in their last three games combined, as Paul Benson and Jake Howells were denied by U’s keeper Will Norris, while Elliot Justham, on for Mark Tyler early, was largely unemployed.

The boss added: “I felt we had the better chances, that’s not to say we dominated the game, we didn’t in any way dominate the game, but we had the better chances.

“Benno had a great chance first half, their keeper made a great save from Howellsy, Ryan Hall had a chance, Josh McQuoid curled one over.

“It was a game of very few chances, although we had the best ones.”