Luton striker would favour a swift managerial appointment

Hatters striker James Collins
Hatters striker James Collins

Hatters striker James Collins would like to see the club make a quick appointment to replace former manager Nathan Jones.

The Welshman decided to leave Luton for Championship outfit Stoke City last Wednesday, with Mick Harford named in interim charge.

He has ruled himself out of taking the position permanently, so Collins hopes that the board now act swiftly.

He said: “I think for the football club, the sooner the better, because we need someone in to kick us on now.

“As long as Mick and the staff have got the job, we’ll keep working hard and keep doing everything right.

“We won’t slip off and they won’t allow us to do that either, so we won’t do that, and that’s the sort of respect we have.”

With the Hatters second in the League One table after a 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday, a result which saw them cut the gap on leaders Portsmouth to just four points, Collins believes it’s a great time to take over at Kenilworth Road.

He continued: “Who wouldn’t want this job?

“It’s a club on the up, new training ground, new stadium getting built, unbelievable fan-base as you see, and a squad full of talented players.

“You could see out there with the budget they’ve (Sunderland) got, I think we were the better side, comfortably.

“So whoever comes in, has got a special group of players on their hands.”

Team-mate Sonny Bradley was of a similar opinion too, saying: “I know Gary (Sweet) said in the week, there were 70-plus applications already, who wouldn’t want this job?

“It’s an absolutely fantastic set of lads, that would pretty much do anything for the club, do anything on the pitch and we’re bound for success, I think it’s just a matter of time.

“If anyone was watching us today, they’d want to come in and take us as they can see how good we are and what they can probably do with us.

“No matter what happens above us, we’ll keep going and we want that promotion.”

Collins went on to admit that the news Jones had decided to move on at such a vital stage of the season did have an impact on the squad.

He said: “It hindered it a little bit, I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a shock on Wednesday, but that’s football.

“I don’t think that’s (timing) down to him, it’s more down to Stoke sacking their manager and then coming for him.

“I think if it could have gone at a better time then he would have, but if a club comes calling at whatever time and it gets agreed, then you’ve just got to get on with it.

"Joaquin took the training on Wednesday as he hadn’t left, but Thursday and Friday, Mick (Harford) and Steve (Rutter) took it and it was great.

"That’s credit to the lads, as the lads want to win, the lads want to get promoted, they want to do well, everybody wants to be the best, and no-one lets you slip up here.

"We’ve got some big characters in the group and we haven’t got any passengers.

“Credit to the lads this week, we’ve got on with it fantastically well, we’re sad to see him go, but it’s football, we have to move on.

“Everyone in that changing room has been through it before though, it’s not the first time it’s happened and it’s not going to be the last.

“I think we’ve dealt with it really well, trained well, credit to Mick and the staff, they’ve not changed a lot.

“We’ve carried on doing the right things, so everyone’s sticking together and everyone’s in it together.

"We’re gutted to see the gaffer go, but what a great opportunity he got and he deserved it, so we’ve just got to get on with it.”

It wasn’t just Jones who opted to leave, but first team coach Joaquin Gomez and head of sports science Jared Roberts-Smith too.

On their departures, Collins added: “They had a massive impact, they were as important as the gaffer in some respects.

“Jared, he set all the schedules out, he did all the gym work, all the warm ups, he pretty much did everything on the physical side.

“Joaquin was the coach, he took training, took set-pieces, he pretty much did most of it as well and then the gaffer did his bits and bobs, so the three of them were massive figures.”

"We're gutted to see them go, but it’s football and they move on to a great club and I wish them all the best."