Jones not worried by Allen's return to Barnet

Luton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss Nathan Jones

Hatters boss Nathan Jones wasn’t getting too caught up in the return of Martin Allen for his fifth spell in charge of Saturday’s opponents Barnet.

The 52-year-old, who left the Hive back in December 2016 to take over at Eastleigh, returned on Monday after Graham Westley’s tenure was ended after just two months.

Although Jones expects the former Brentford and Gillingham chief to give the Bees squad an undoubted boost in their efforts to stay up, he preferred to focus on his own side’s promotion aspirations, saying: “You would expect it would, Martin has an impact wherever he goes, in whatever way that he does.

"We can’t second guess that, but we concentrate on Luton not Barnet.

“If Barnet come here and are better than us, then we’ll hold our hands up, but not many have come here and been better than us, so they’re going to have to be a good side on the day.

“I’ve got no idea what Martin’s going to do. I get on with Martin, I really like him, I’ve got a good relationship with Martin.

"I watched our game against them when we played them two years ago (2-1 defeat), because that was the last time we crossed paths, and it was a good game, a very entertaining game with lots of chances.

"We hope we get a better result than we did that day, but we can’t second guess what Barnet are going to do, but we won’t, we’ll prepare our team to get the right result.

“I know Martin, I know his teams, he’s had an impact and he’s done so well at the clubs he’s gone to generally, but we can’t affect that.

"When they come they’ll be fired up, but we should be fired up, we’re going for promotion, there’s no greater motivation than going up a league and changing your life, so that’s what we’re going for.

“We’ve prepared our team and if we’re right at it, then usually it takes one heck of a team to beat us, so that’s what we have to focus on.

"If we’re at it, then I can’t say anything else, if we do our jobs, then that’s all I can affect.”

Since coming in Allen, has already stamped his authority on the club, who are seven points from safety, reducing the squad to just 20 players.

Midfielders Jordan Nicholson and Simeon Akinola have been made available for loan, while Tin Plavotic has returned to parent club Bristol City and Matthew Briggs' non-contract agreement has been cancelled after just one outing.

Allen also released all of the players who had been on trial with the Bees, but on how much attention he was paying to matters in Greater London, Jones continued: “What do I do, do I have a sleepless night trying to guess what Martin’s going to do?

“Or do I just think, 'no I’ll prepare my team as well as I can and then we’ll go from there.'

“We have good footballers, we have good players, we have a good structure here.

"Our record is good, we’re second in the table for a reason, because over a 38 game period, we’ve been the second best team in the league.

"For long periods, we were the best, but we’ve now slipped down because Accrington have taken over that mantle, so I'm not going to sit here wondering or worrying what Martin’s going to do, I’m more focussed on preparing our team.”

Jones has previously shared a dressing room with his opposite number though in the 1997-98 campaign when at Southend, with Allen joining on loan from Portsmouth for two months.

The Luton chief added: “I played with Martin at Southend towards the end of his career.

"I’d just signed for Southend and Alvin Martin brought him in for that bit of experience, so I got to know him and have come across him so many times.

"I've got a very, very good relationship with Martin, I can only speak highly of him in what he’s done and he’s an experienced manager.

"He’ll have an impact, I’d like him to have an impact after Saturday, I really would, because he’s a good guy.

“But I’ll be doing everything I can and my team will be to make sure he only has seven games to save his team.”