Jones: Players aren't feeling the pressure

Hatters boss Nathan Jones has insisted his players aren't feeling the heat despite a dip in form with promotion to League One firmly in sight.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 10:30 am
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 10:35 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

After beating Crawley 4-1 on February 13, the Hatters were six points in front of second placed Accrington and 10 points clear of fourth spot.

However, a run of four games without a win, including three draws, has seen Town toppled from the summit by Stanley and now with just a seven point buffer to fourth, having played a game more too.

When asked if he felt his squad were suffering from the pressures of the title race, having led the way for almost four months, Jones said: “I don’t think so. If I’m honest, I don’t think we deserved to win the game the other night, we didn’t.

“Coventry are a good side, for me as good as we’ve played, over two games, but in three previous games, I felt we deserved to win all three, so I don’t think they are (under pressure).

“Things have conspired to go against us a little bit, but you get that through a season.

“We haven’t taken the points we would have liked to, so we’re having a little bit of a slow patch, which all teams go through.

“We haven’t been through them yet, because we’ve been two point two points a game up until the patch we’ve had, so we’re in credit, it’s just we’ve got to make sure we come through this period now.

“If we’d lost the other night and picked up the points we felt we deserved prior, then I’d be happy with that, but as it is, we’re scrapping away for every point.

“It’s a different time to the season from a November or December, and we’re right in there.”

After last season when Town's thoughts were more about trying to secure a play-off place rather than go up automatically, Jones believes his players should relish the position they find themselves in now.

He continued: “It’s still a good gap and lets not forget, it’s a wonderfully exciting time.

“We’re challenging for a league title here and this time last year we weren’t. We were looking probably for play-offs, still had a realistic chance of getting automatic, but it might have been a bridge too far to get the title.

“So we’ve come along way in a year again and it’s a real exciting end to the season, everything's in our hands, so providing that stays the same then we’ll be happy.”

The Luton boss purposefully put together a squad with the experience to cope with the stresses and strains of a promotion challenge this term too and has called on his previous winners to harness that knowledge during the closing stages of the campaign.

He added; “That’s why they’re here as we’ve signed a lot that will have that promotion in their bank.

“Scott (Cuthbert) has, (Johnny) Mullins has, (Danny) Hylton has, (James) Collins has, (Alan) McCormack has, myself, so there’s a lot in there, (Jake) Jervis, that have had promotions.

"So we’re going to call on that experience, we are, but that’s why we signed them.

“We tend to sign players that have been promoted from this or the level above, to give us that experience and that know-how.

“There’s a long way to go, nine games to go, some have 10 and it’s going to be a real interesting time.”