Jones feels like an 'assessor' as Town start pre-season with a victory
Hatters boss Grame Jones admits he feels like an ‘assessor’ after taking charge of his first game at the weekend, a 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Welwyn Garden City.
James Collins netted a first half double, with Danny Hylton also on target in the second period, as Jones gave 22 players 45 minutes each at their Southern League Division One Central opponents.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “I felt I was an assessor, I was assessing what was going on but I made sure that within the performance, it was a priority in winning the football match.
“We managed to win both halves, second half we kept a clean sheet, so I was delighted.
“It was nothing different for me, I’ve been heavily involved as an assistant manager, I’ve certainly not been there as part of the ride and I’ve done things like this in the past, so it felt very natural, very normal.
“Training’s one thing, getting on a big pitch is another and it’s the only place.
"Training gives you an indication, but the big pitch is the best area to assess people, so overall, I'm really satisfied.”
All four of Jones’ summer additions, Callum McManaman, Martin Cranie, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Brendan Galloway all got their first outings, as Jones continued: “I hope the supporters appreciate that I did split them two and two, so they could have a look first half and second.
"I’ve been really pleased with them, Brendan’s a little bit behind physically, as he wasn’t in training until Wednesday for the first time, the other three I’ve been delighted with.”
Jones also gave minutes to two of his young pros, Corey Panter and Josh Neufville, with the latter playing in an unfamiliar wing back role, both impressing alongside the senior players during the second half.
The Town boss said: “I thought Corey showed real maturity, he played alongside Lloyd (Jones) and for Josh it’s an unusual position.
“He’s not played there before, but I thought he handled it very, very well and again, it’s so far so good.”
When asked if his selection was any indicator on the team he would put out for the Championship which starts in just under a month, Jones added: “Absolutely not.
"It was trying to pick two teams that were competitive in each half.
"There’s a bit of thought going into the second half that they would maybe tire a little bit more and no more than that really.
"I’m an assessor at the minute, I’m an assessor for the next four weeks, I’m an assessor of what’s gone on and I’m an assessor of what’s coming up, so it was no more than that.
"I just wanted to be fair with everybody, give everybody 45 minutes, try to play them in their rightful positions, I had one or two little changes that were intentional, so I was quite pleased with them.”