Hatters boss Graeme Jones believes that former defender James Justin’s performance for Leicester City in their 4-0 Carabao Cup victory over his side on Tuesday further reinforced just what his side have had to do without this term.
The 21-year-old left Luton in the summer for a club record fee and was handed his Foxes debut by boss Brendan Rodgers for the tie, giving an excellent first outing, even scoring the second goal as his new team romped through.
It’s not just Justin’s absence that the Hatters have found tough to deal as they make their way in the Championship, but fellow full back Jack Stacey too, who also headed for the top flight during the close season, Bournemouth snapping him up.
Town have naturally found it difficult replace both players, using James Bree, Luke Bolton, Martin Cranie, Dan Potts and Brendan Galloway at various points of the season so far.
Jones said: “I’ve got to tell you, you realise what you’ve lost and we’ve all seen that, because that’s a proper physical Premier League specimen.
“Now we lost two of them in the summer, people need to understand that you don’t replace them overnight.
“I keep saying that we’ve done okay, but they are Premier League players, you can see the physically.
“James Justin has got no right to get on the end of that ball (from Yuri Tielemans), but because he can sprint, he can recover, he can do it.”
Team-mate Matty Pearson knows it has been tough losing two members of what was a settled back four for the Hatters, with the quartet playing the majority of matches as Luton won the League One title last season.
He added: “In general we had a settled team last year, maybe this year not so much, especially their positions.
“Every year you get changes and new players come in and players leave, that’s just football.
“They’re two massive players who have left.
"We’ve got players who have come in, a few have been injured, a few have been playing their first games, but once we get settled, I think it won’t be a problem.
“You’ve seen some of the qualities from the players who have come in who can show what they can do, even regarding the results, it’s just been a learning curve for a few of us.”