Jones won't go overboard on his side's discipline issues

Hatters boss Nathan Jones won't lay the law down to his side regarding their discipline issues any more than usual when they host Accrington Stanley in a top-of-the-table clash at Kenilworth Road tomorrow.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 7:00 pm
Scott Cuthbert was sent off for this challenge against Swindon earlier in the season
Scott Cuthbert was sent off for this challenge against Swindon earlier in the season

The Luton chief saw his side pick up their eighth red card of the campaign last weekend when James Collins was dismissed in the 1-1 draw at Cambridge United.

However, Jones insists the players are already well aware it’s an area they must to improve, as when asked if he would make a special point of mentioning before the clash, he said: “We’ll go as normal. They have to realise, as I think the more that you harp on about something, it’s kind of a prophecy coming true and you’re foretelling something.

“They know, because it’s costing them. It cost them last week, without being disrespectful to Cambridge, Cambridge are a good side, but we’re under no real pressure and I’m quite convinced we would have seen out that game and got three points.

“When you do go down (a man), they’re at home, they put plenty of of people in the box, they load your box, it’s difficult.

“So I won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary, and that’s not me being naive as we keep on about it.

"We do say about that, but we just hope that they take it on board and they’re professional.”

After the draw at United on Saturday, both Luke Gambin and Luke Berry admitted the squad had spoken among themselves about looking to stamp out Town’s poor disciplinary record this term during the run-in.

It was something Jones was pleased had happened too, as he knows it's the one thing that could jeopardise their dream of playing League One football next season.

He continued: “We’ve spoken to them about it for a while, after the Coventry and the Swindon games and said, 'we think the biggest hindrance to us getting promoted this year will be our discipline.'

“Without being disrespectful to anyone, we feel we’re good enough to finish in the top three, if we keep 11 players on the pitch for all the games.

“Now I know that sometimes we’re going to pick up red cards, but we’ve picked up some silly ones really, ones that have been unavoidable, then we’ve picked up bookings.

“A lot are merited, but there’s been some that you think we’ve been harshly done by at time, especially when others don’t get those.

“But if we sort our discipline out internally, we don’t have any other issues.

"It’s not like we don’t speak about and they’re the most disciplined group around the place.

"They train well, they’re on time every day, we’ve got not one problematic person. It’s just some things happen when we go on the football pitch that we don’t really like.”

With Luton having nine red cards last term, it means they have had 17 players dismissed in 104 matches over the last two seasons, meaning they have been playing with a man light once in just over every six games.

Jones did think some of the punishments handed out to his side were harsh to say the least though, adding: "I’ve got to be honest with you, we do tend to pick up bookings that others don’t and I’m not a squealing manager that says we get hard done by, but I look at some of the things.

“Dan Potts’ booking from the weekend, the foul’s given against him, it was baffling and there's a few things that go on.

"Not to single anyone out, Gary Deegan, you should see the state of Luke Berry’s legs, it’s unbelievable, and yet that’s his job, that’s Gary Deegans’ job and he does it very well.

"He’s a defensive midfield player, but how someone can get booked for a handball and a dissent when things like that are going on, I find hard to understand.

"So we do pick up a lot of little stuff that others don’t and I could look through 100 incidents, but we’ve got to deal with that.

“We’ve had a lot of red cards and we’ve won a good percentage of the games when we’ve had a red card, but it doesn’t do us any good, because you never know the knock on effect for the next game and so on.

“What we’ve got here is real strength in depth, we’re able to cope with it, but we don’t really want that problem,.

"The problem we want is choosing from a squad that’s at it and flying and doing really well and sometimes that gets curtailed by little lack of discipline.”