Jones eyes FA Youth Cup semi-final berth

Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones

Hatters manager Nathan Jones doesn’t want to the club’s FA Youth Cup journey to end with tonight’s quarter-final tie at Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

Town knocked out Preston North End on penalties to make it through to the last eight and take to the field with the chance of meeting Chelsea over two legs in the final four.

“We’re looking to go further, but can’t reiterate enough how good a job Paul Driver has done with them.”

Nathan Jones

On their achievement, Jones said: “What they’ve done, they’ve achieved, is superb for the football club.

“It’s superb for Paul, superb for themselves, but more importantly, superb for the football club.

“We’re really immensely proud of them, they’re a real tight knit group, and have done fantastically well. To get through to the last eight of the FA Youth Cup in this country is no mean feat.

“We’re looking to go further, but can’t reiterate enough how good a job Paul Driver has done with them, how he’s got those lads together. What they’re giving him is a credit to him firstly, a credit to them and then a credit to Luton Town.”

Jones hopes that the superb season the U18s have had so far, will only help them going forward too.

He continued: “We’re trying to breed a winning mentality here right throughout.

“It usually starts with the first team and breeds its way round, but the youth team have demonstrated a real winning mentality.

“Long may that continue, because realistically we want that and if players are going to step up they’re going to need to have that.

“Because a development side of the development is a winning side. There’s no good being technically proficient if you’re not used to winning and we need that in first team football.”

Jones now hopes to benefit from the current crop of talented youngsters coming through at Luton, as he is already shown he is not afraid to blood them, handing Frankie Musonda a first team debut at Mansfield recently.

He added: “I knew the club has a tradition of producing wonderful young players and knew there was a process here.

“Now what I hope to do is give them a pathway and then the process blends into the pathway, so they get opportunities they’ve had.

“We’ve had young Frankie with us, Zane Banton has joined us and one or two we’re very aware from the youth team.

“We want to set in place a structure for the football club, a process of developing young players, of integrating them through the system and through our age groups.

“Then hopefully having that pathway and opportunity to play first team football for Luton Town.

“It is a thing about economics, but more importantly the fact that young players see the fact that Luton Town has that mentality where there is a process and a pathway to play in the first team.

“By doing that you can attract good young players, you can save yourself money in the process, but I think the fans also love to see home grown talent, love to see local people doing well.

“So that it’s not just buying players, bringing people in, they like to see homegrown players, their own if you like.

“That’s what we’re trying to do here we’re trying to create an environment that’s conducive to do that.”