Kioso confident he can handle the pressure of playing for Luton

New Luton signing Peter Kioso
New Luton signing Peter Kioso

Youngster backs himself to cope following switch from Hartlepool

New Town signing Peter Kioso is confident he can handle any pressure that comes during his time at Kenilworth Road.

The 20-year-old full back, who had been at Dunstable Town earlier in his career, was signed last month after catching the eye for his displays at National League side Hartlepool.

With far more scrutiny now on his performances than he will have been used to in the past, the former MK Dons Academy defender wasn’t about to let that affect him.

He said: “There’s no pressure on me at all, but in football you’re always going to have pressure.

“It’s about if you can live up to the pressure and if you can work on it.

"I deem myself as being able to work under any type of pressure because that’s the job that you’re given.”

When asked what kind of player that Luton fans can expect to see when he gets his opportunity to feature, Kioso said: “Quite physical, I like getting stuck in.

“I’m decent at tackling and my one v one defending is quite good. I do try and get forward as much as possible, but as a right back I always think the defensive side is more important than the attacking side.”

Town’s title-winning League One success of last year was built heavily on their full backs, with both James Justin and Jack Stacey revelling in their roles given to them.

Not only did they both win a host of personal honours at various end of season awards, the pair are now plying their trade in the Premier League, snapped up by Leicester City and Bournemouth respectively.

It was no surprise to Kioso that they got their move to the top flight, as he continued: “In the last year I was at Power League for a fitness session with James Justin, just playing football against each other.

“You see technically how good he is as a player, it’s no surprise he’s gone to Leicester and Jack Stacey’s gone to Bournemouth.

“I watched a few games of Luton last year as well and you can see how they want their full backs to play.

“It’s no surprise how the full backs develop because the playing style of the team helps them to play at their full ability.

"Coming to a club like this is amazing for me, as a full back, as a young lad as well, helps my game, helps me as a person.

“As a full back my main goal is to make sure my winger up against me, I keep him quiet, that’s my job.

“I’m a defender first and attacker second, but when I do get the chance to get forward, I’ll always get forward and try to give my input in the attacking play as well.”

When signing for the Hatters, there was one familiar face already in the squad, with Kioso's cousin Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu the club's longest-serving member.

He said: "I do know him, off the pitch he’s quite funny, quite a joker, but on the pitch he’s serious and has great ability, just like every other player in this team.

"So for me, it’s a great thing to be around those types of players, having players like that I can look to but also respect and learn things from.

“Everyone's a family here, it’s not just one person looking after me, everybody’s looking after me.

"The way I am with Pelly is the exact same way I’d be with Shinnsy (Andrew Shinnie), or (James) Collins, anyone.

"All the boys take care of me and I feel welcome, that’s the best thing about coming to this club, you feel welcome and it makes your job on the pitch a lot easier."

Meanwhile, Mpanzu was hoping to see his new team-mate have an impact on the first team when given the opportunity, saying: "I didn’t know he was going to come and then my mum told me he’s going to sign, so I’ve tried to welcome him into the club and hopefully he can progress.

"I’ve seen his quality in training, he’s a good player, so hopefully he can have a place in the team and keep a couple of players out.

"Competition for places is high in this club so you’ve got to work hard and hopefully he can break into the team."

If he does manage to dislodge Aston Villa loanee James Bree during the run-in, then at least Kioso's family won't have as far to go to watch him anymore, after some lengthy treks to Hartlepool and back.

The defender added: “My family live in MK, 15 minutes away from here, my mum and dad and my brother, so it’s quite ideal for me.

"Not just because of how great the club is, but for my family as well as you have to think about your family.

"Up in Hartlepool, they were driving three, four hours to watch me play, and that’s loads of respect to my parents and loads of love to them for doing that.

"But it is better to be coming to watch me at a place like Luton which is 15, 20 minutes away so it’s not too much of a hassle for them."