Hatters boss won't become 'flippant' during the final six matches of Championship season

Town manager targets strong end to the campaign

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 9:27 am
Updated Saturday, 17th April 2021, 9:30 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones won’t be approaching the final six games of the season in a ‘flippant’ mode as he looks to build on what has been an excellent campaign in the Championship.

The Hatters surpassed last season’s tally of 51 points with six games still to go when beating Wycombe Wanderers 3-1 at the weekend.

Although Town are now safe from relegation, Jones doesn’t want any let-up from his players ahead of the run-in, especially starting against fierce rivals Watford this afternoon.

Luton then have home games with Reading, Middlesbrough and Rotherham, plus trips to Bristol City and QPR before a well-deserved break, as Jones said: “Last year was a tough first year in the Championship, the goal was to remain in the Championship, that was achieved, then it was to really establish.

“I think we’ve established ourselves as a Championship side, we’re mid-table, so we’ve had real good progression, surpassed last year’s points total with six games to go, so it is a progression and we’re very pleased with that.

“Now we wanted as soon as we got to a certain points total to then start looking towards next season, but then invariably we lost two on the bounce so I’m not a manager who likes losing games and say ‘okay we’re just planning.’

“There’s a little bit of reality that says we do want to move forward, but we also want to finish strongly this season, so it doesn’t peter out.

“I want to be a side that teams look at think 'they’ve gone right to the end', I don’t want to suddenly have a flamboyant system, be a bit flippant in our performances and I also don’t want to come off the gas as there's some important games.

"Saturday is as important as they come, then it would be disrespectful if we were flippant in our shape against Reading who are going for promotion, and then we play sides in and around us.

"Then we have a side (Rotherham) that’s involved in a battle to stay in the league, so I want us to have real integrity and I want us to move forward, but I also want us to finish strongly.

"So all three of those, that’s our motivation.”

Jones is closing on on completing a first full season since he return to Kenilworth Road last May, saving the Hatters from what had looked certain relegation with a marvellous run of results.

On how much he has enjoyed his second sting as manager, he added: “I love my job here, I always have.

“I know it sounds ironic because people can keep coming back to my sabbatical if you like, but it’s a challenge and I love working with the group because I pretty much know what I’m going to get from the group.

"We might lose, or not win, and we’ve won a lot of games, but I know what I’m going to get from them in terms of a work-rate and a desire and an openness and they want to get better.

"Of course I’m enjoying it, it’s a really great challenge, a great league.

"I was talking to Gareth Ainsworth (Wycombe boss) on the weekend and when you’re in League Two or League One, with the greatest respect, we just played our way, we didn’t change a single thing for anyone.

"We want to get to that position in the Championship, but every single week is a different tactical challenge and that’s the great thing for a coach or manager to come up against.”