Bradley knew Luton simply had to tighten up at the back to progress in the Championship

Hatters keep a 15th clean sheet of the season against Millers

Friday, 7th May 2021, 10:04 am
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 10:32 am
Town skipper Sonny Bradley
Town skipper Sonny Bradley

Luton skipper Sonny Bradley knew there was absolutely no way that the Hatters could have continued with their defensive frailties from last season if they wanted to be a success in the Championship this time round.

Town finished the 2019-20 campaign with a goals against record of 82, shipping 37 at home and 45 away, the second worst in the division, conceding an average of 1.78 per game, and keeping only seven clean sheets.

Fast forward a year though and Luton’s goalless draw against Rotherham United on Tuesday night was their 15th clean sheet of the season, meaning they have conceded just 49 from 45 games, 23 at home and 26 away, some 31 less than this stage last term, and an average of just 1.08 per game.

Bradley, who has played 36 times at the heart of a far more solid Town defence this campaign, now the 10th best in the second tier, said: “I think we’ve needed that to progress.

“There was no way we could have continued conceding the amount of goals we did last season and expect to progress in the league.

"So we’ve tightened up at the back, but we defend as a team.

"The amount of times you’ve seen this season James Collins coming back for a corner, and he normally wins the first ball, he’s a striker.

"So the defensive side of it, the full team has been a lot better, that’s one of the main reasons that we’ve been able to progress this season.”

Meanwhile, boss Nathan Jones, who has now seen Luton keep 18 clean sheets from the 54 games he has managed since returning in May last year, said: “Without being disrespectful to anyone in anything, Luton used to have to score two to get a point or three to get a win.

"That can’t happen week in week out, not in the Championship, it’s too good a level.

"We knew that we had to tighten up, but that’s everything, that’s the way we work and we’ve had to evolve because we were a very pragmatic side at the end of last year and got a lot of points from doing that.

"But now we’re a front-footed, high pressing, hard working, try to dominate to the best of our ability a game and that pleases me.

"We’re getting better and that’s the good thing for me as we are getting better.”