Butterfield is 'very, very close' to Luton first team spot according to Town chief

Hatters boss Graeme Jones has confirmed he is giving major consideration to recalling experienced midfielder Jacob Butterfield.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 2:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 2:51 pm
Hatters midfielder Jacob Butterfield
Hatters midfielder Jacob Butterfield

The 29-year-old, who has well over 300 games to his name, once costing Derby County £4.5m earlier in his career, has only started eight matches in the Championship for Town this season.

After impressing earlier in the campaign, Butterfield then found himself surprisingly out of the side, as he has only made six appearance since the end of August, just three of them from the start,

He began the 3-0 defeat at Reading on November 9, but has been restricted to cameos off the bench since, with the game already done and dusted at both Brentford and Stoke City recently.

When asked how near he was to the first team, Jones said: “Very close, very, very close.

“I wanted to press Wigan, wanted to press Stoke, because they both play long ball and in transition, I was a little bit concerned with him.

“Jacob’s an excellent footballer, so I don’t mind him in games being behind the ball.

"I love him on the ball, hes fantastic and he’s improved his level off the ball massively, it’s just got to be the right game for him and then we’ll take it from there.

“But again he’s been very good in training. He came on again the other night, like he did against Brentford, showed he was ready.

“I’ve got confidence in Jacob actually, I’ve got no doubt, but tactically it needs to be the right opportunity, as when he played in a midfield two against Reading, it wasn’t, it exposed him a little bit.

“So there’s a certain situation that if it suits us tactically, then I’ve got no doubt about including Jacob, I certainly trust him from that point of view.”

Jones has brought Luke Berry and George Moncur back from lengthy spells out of the team during the last week, with both players praising the manager for his honesty with regards what they needed to improve on.

The Luton chief has had similar discussions with Butterfield too, adding: “Yes, he was the first person I spoke to after the Wigan game.

“Sometimes you can’t speak to everybody, I could have 10 conversations a day, so they have to understand it’s football, you can’t clear their minds all the time.

“I try to give good communication as I believe in improving people.

“It’s difficult to improve anybody in three game weeks, because you can’t work, but I try to keep those lines open.

“I think I’ve done that with Jacob, we’ve had two conversations now, Saturday and Sunday and he knows my thoughts, so we’ll see where we are.”