Berry insists Luton have 'brushed aside' Jones' departure to Stoke

Hatters midfielder Luke Berry believes the players have proved they are already over the shock of manager Nathan Jones leaving the club for Stoke City last week.

Saturday, 19th January 2019, 8:34 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:57 pm
Luke Berry saw this effort saved by Wednesday keeper Cameron Dawson

The former Luton chief decided to depart Kenilworth Road for the Potters just days before Town's crucial trip to Sunderland.

James Collins' penalty ensured the visitors came away with a point from the Stadium of Light, with Hatters then producing another excellent performance in the 1-0 FA Cup third round replay defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

Berry insists it shows the squad have put Jones' exit behind them, as they are looking to beat one of their promotion rivals for the first time this afternoon, when Peterborough are the visitors.

He added: “It was disappointing (Jones leaving), but we’ve got over that real quick.

"You can see how good we were and against Sunderland, we’ve brushed that aside and now we need to focus on getting promoted.

“The message after the game was we’ve got an even bigger one on Saturday and we’re going to focus on that now.

"We’ve got a great record at Kenilworth Road; 13 games unbeaten in the league and we want to keep that going.

"We’re looking at this as a real positive month to go and beat the teams who are around us. That will bring a real gap between us and them.”

The midfielder also felt Town's displays in the FA Cup against the Owls has laid down a marker for the rest of the season.

Town earned an excellent 0-0 draw at Hillsborough in their first meeting, where the neutral wouldn't have been able to distinguish who was the higher level side.

They then dominated large periods of the replay on in midweek, forcing Owls keeper Cameron Dawson into a string of excellent saves, ultimately undone by Atdhe Nuhiu's goal at the start of the second half.

Berry said: "It just shows how far we have come with how disappointed we are in there and after two games we have given a good Championship team a real good run for their money.

"I thought I had a good chance, Collo (James Collins) had a good chance, Elliot (Lee) as well, we’ve all had great chances to win this game, so we’re disappointed.

"We know we’re good enough, that’s why we’re top two in the league.

"We know we can give any team a run for their money, like on Saturday, 10 men against Sunderland for a bit of time, and I thought we could have won that as well.

“But it was a poor goal to concede. I think he shanked it and it just bobbled in.

"It’s one of those where you’re like ‘how the hell has he done that?’ Then we create four or five clear cut chances and it’s just disappointing."

Berry himself came as close as anyone, denied by the keeper's legs when picked out by James Justin's low cross.

It was the second home game in a row that Luton had failed to find the net, with James Collins' penalty their only goal in the last four matches.

However, the midfielder was unfazed, saying: "I had a good chance second half, I' disappointed I didn’t take that.

“I’d say if we weren’t looking like scoring, I think we’d feel a bit worried, but we’re not.

"You can see that we’re creating lots of chances, it's just unfortunate we didn’t take them."

The main plus for Berry was that he completed another 70 minutes on his second start in two weeks since coming back from his horrific injured suffered against Colchester last year.

He now just wants to start hitting top form once more, saying: "I have done my little mini pre-season in training, now I just need to get my sharpness up in games.

"I am glad to get minutes in, that’s the main thing at the moment, just getting up my match sharpness.

"I didn’t think I was that sharp, second half I got a bit tired, so I just need to keep working on that in training."

On taking off Berry for defender Dan Potts, who was denied an equaliser by a fine save, and moving James Justin further forward, interim boss Mick Harford added: "We wanted to some energy in midfield, not that Luke doesn’t give us that, but he hasn’t played for a long, long time and he was just flagging a little bit.

"I we thought we’d stick JJ up there and get some energy and Pottsy got down the flank well, as the keeper’s made a great save.

"From where I was, I thought it was in, but the players showed they’re really having a go and they’re desperate to do well for this football club."