Jones impressed by Sluga's performance on his Luton recall

Hatters boss Graeme Jones hailed recalled keeper Simon Sluga’s performance after he returned to the side in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Swansea City.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 8:52 am
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:45 pm
Simon Sluga clears the danger against Swansea
Simon Sluga clears the danger against Swansea

The club’s record signing had been on the bench for the last 11 games, after his error-strewn display at Derby County back in October, where he gifted the Rams both their goals during a 2-0 reverse.

That saw James Shea come into the side, with Sluga dropping down to the bench, with the former AFC Wimbledon stopper putting in a string of good showings to keep Sluga out of the side.

However, Shea suffered a concussion at Preston North End last weekend, meaning the Croatian international was called upon once more, as Jones said: “It was a solid performance, I’ve never doubted his ability, his mentality was right for it, it tells me he’s learned his lessons while he’s been out.

“I thought his individual preparation was different today, in terms of where he is mentally, compared to two months ago and overall solid.

"I thought he deserved a clean sheet, but the game’s not romantic.

“He’s a Croatian international, now I know early in the season he’s maybe struggled to adapt, but I was really satisfied with his performance today, as you just want people to learn their lessons in life.

“I think the Championship caught him out, English football caught him out, he’s had to sit back and watch James play.

“I thought he gave a very, very acquired, controlled display, I was really happy for him.”

Sluga was given an excellent ovation ahead of the game, with all of his first few actions earning huge cheers from the Town faithful, who were desperate for the 26-year-old to put in a good show.

He looked commanding when coming out for crosses, while kicked well, and also made a fine save from Andre Ayew, before the Swansea striker netted the winner late on.

Jones continued: “He seems to be a crowd favourite here, I thought the crowd were brilliant, even coming off.

“You can’t fool Luton Town supporters, they know when everyone’s giving everything they’ve got, that’s what’s going on.”

Sluga’s display certainly impressed team-mate Matty Pearson though, who said: “Sheasy’s missed out today and Simon’s come in and for me, staked a claim with his performance.

“That’s what we need, there’s not just 11 of us playing, we’ve got a full squad here, we’re all good enough to play.

“I’m pleased for him and thought he put in a good performance.”

On the nature of Shea’s injury, Jones added: “James was available today, he just struggled with it.

"He’s been sleeping all day yesterday and I think some of his movements turning in the goalkeeping practices, he didn’t feel right.

“James is a top character, so for James to pull out it must have been something serious.”