Jones knows Luton will have to be at their best to deal with Charlton's potent front two

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones is well aware his side will have to be at the top of their game to deal with Charlton’s front two of Lyle Taylor and Karlan Ahearne-Grant this afternoon.

The pair have started the season in explosive form, scoring five goals each, making up 10 of the Addicks' 12 strikes in League One, with only two other Athletic players hitting the net so far.

It has led Lee Bowyer's side to four straight wins, as they have climbed to sixth in the table, five points ahead of the Hatters, who are back in 12th.

Jones said: “They’ve got some potency there, Lyle Taylor and Karlan are a real potent strike force at this level and we’ll have to be at our best.

“But we’re in good form at the minute, two clean sheets, so we can’t go into it with any better defensive form.

"It’s a wonderful game, a full house, Charlton’s a wonderful club, I’ve worked for the club, so I know what a fantastic club it is.

"But I also know what a fantastic team and club we are, so a wonderful occasion.”

Centre half duo Matty Pearson and Sonny Bradley have been Jones’ preferred pairing for the past six games, and they confidently kept out Blackpool’s attacking prowess last weekend.

The Town chief thought it was the entire team effort though, as he continued: “They’ve had three clean sheets out of the last six games I think, so that’s decent, that’s good.

“But I think it’s a whole team performance, we debriefed and the work-rate shown by the six in front of the back four the other day was phenomenal, at Blackpool away from home.

“It was a pity we couldn’t nick a goal as if we’d have nicked a goal it would have been just brilliant for how we played, how we worked, how we defended.

"We’d have been a difficult side for anyone to play against last week, as a team we defended fantastically well.”

Facing Taylor, who was signed from AFC Wimbledon in the summer and Grant, who had a prolific loan spell at Crawley last season, will be a different proposition though.

Jones knew the potential of Grant at an early stage too, as he was the Addicks’ U21 coach between 2012-2013, prior to moving to Brighton & Hove Albion.

It’s not just Grant in the current Athletic XI who he helped to shape the career of either, saying: “When I worked with the 21s, a lot of them have come through.

“Dillon Phillips (goalkeeper) is there, Karlan was just below us, but dipped in to what we did.

“The others ones have all gone on and most of them have played Premiership or Championship, so we had a good squad there.

“Nick Pope was one who went away with England, Jordan Cousins (sold to QPR for £1.25m), Callum Harriott (Reading), Morgan Fox (sold to Sheffield Wednesday for £700k) are all playing Championship now.

“Most of them did play in the first team, Harry Lennon is now at Southend, he played in the first team, Diego Poyet went on to play for West Ham, the front two were Joe Piggott and Ade Azeez and the boy (Michael) Smith who was at Portsmouth and went to Rotherham.

“So it was a good group we had there, Charlton have got a wonderful record of producing players, a bit like Luton.

“Obviously there’s a bigger catchment area there, but people like (Joe) Aribo have come through and done really well, Karlan has, it’s a good club with a good tradition, I enjoyed my time there, I really did.”

Jones admitted that things he picked up while with the Addicks have been brought into his tenure with Luton, adding: “I worked with good people, predominantly Paul Hart who was a big influence.

"But I worked with Chris Powell as well, he was the first team manager and there’s good people all round, people like Keith Peacock who are experienced, and although I didn’t work with them day in day out, there’s little things you take off them.

"There was a real good atmosphere, a good environment and we have that here.

"That helped me, the environment at Charlton and Brighton, and shaped me and shaped this environment."