Jones: Confident Sluga is starting to settle at Luton

Town keeper Simon Sluga
Town keeper Simon Sluga

Town boss praises Croatian for his display against Albion

Luton chief Graeme Jones believes goalkeeper Simon Sluga is finally starting to look at home in his new surroundings.

The 26-year-old made a big money move from Croatian side Rijeka in the summer, becoming Town’s record signing in the process.

He started the first 11 league games, but made a number of errors, culminating in a 2-0 defeat at Derby where he was badly at fault for both goals.

Sluga then lost his place to James Shea, before coming back to face Swansea in December.

He missed the 3-0 defeat at Bristol City due to injury, returning against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, going on to start the last five fixtures.

After a decent display in the 3-2 win over Derby County last Tuesday night, Sluga followed that up with another good display at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

This time he had good control of his area, with both his handling and kicking decisive, before making two stand out saves from Callum Robinson.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “I felt assured, I said that to him after the Derby game.

"That just shows you, all the older coaches that I’ve worked under as a player over the years said you need six months to settle, at any level, no matter who you are.

“It’s taken him six months and he looks like he’s confident, looks like he knows the league.

“He’s always had that, that’s his ability, those reactions, it’s the other moments.

“His kicking’s better, he’s controlling moments better in the game.

“He’s a quick goalkeeper, so you see him coming out and making contact on balls sometimes when other keepers would backpedal and leave it, so I think it was another improvement from Simon.”

It wasn’t just Sluga who Jones was satisfied with at the weekend, as despite an 11th straight league defeat, the Hatters boss added: “You wouldn’t pick West Brom and Nottingham Forest to do that (end losing away run), but I’m just measuring the group.

“When I said after the Forest game I was pleased with certain aspects, what followed after that performance was a win.

“I was pleased with certain aspects, I wasn’t pleased with the result, but you have to look beyond that result sometimes.

“Were we competitive? Yes. Were we overawed? No.

“Did we believe that we could get something? Maybe.

“I need a little bit more from them at a place like West Brom but I can assure you from where we’ve been, if you think of our performances at Bristol City and other clubs, there’s a lot more belief and a lot more resilience in the group, and I’m sure it will come.”