Jones looking to produce more James Justin's after adding Lawless and Williams to Luton's U21 squad
Duo pen deals to move to Kenilworth Road
Luton boss Nathan Jones felt that the signings of youngsters Conor Lawless and Josh Williams this week were vital to bolster the strength of the club's U21 squad.
Since Jones arrived for his second spell in May 2020, he has looked to boost the development side at Kenilworth Road, bringing in Dion Pereira, TQ Addy and Jack Chambers, the latter since released, back in November 2020, with Pereira now involved in the first team squad on a match day.
He also added a number of youngsters on new development contracts in the summer, including Sam Beckwith, Jake Peck and Corey Panter to name just three, along with promoting Aidan Francis-Clarke from the youth team, the defender on the bench for Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Swansea City after Danny Hylton pulled out with injury.
This week, Lawless and Williams arrived after coming through the ranks at Reading and Aston Villa earlier in their careers, with former Spurs youngster Elliot Thorpe potentially joining them as well, to increase the numbers even further.
Jones confirmed they could also be used in Town’s first team, without having to add to his already named Championship squad due to their U21 status, as he said: “It’s important that we have a good strong development squad because you haven’t got to name in your 25.
"We’ve always had a big pride on developing players here, so the more we can develop, the better position the club is in.
"We always like to develop our own, so if we can bring in two that can be really competitive, then yes, we’re delighted.
"We are a work in progress on that as we are behind certain teams, but the club are very committed to getting us Category Two status, to improving all levels of the academy so that we can produce more James Justin's and things like that for this football club."
When asked how the process goes in acquiring the players and who has the final say, Jones added: “Ultimately if I didn't want them here then they wouldn't be here, but there’s better equipped than me that see them, people we trust.
"We have an academy that we trust and they’re part and parcel of the recruitment.
"We touch on academy recruitment as ultimately they have to end up with us, so we like to sign a certain physical profile, we like to sign a certain technical profile and then work with them.
"So if someone’s, without being disrespectful, three foot eight and comes in with a pair of gloves then we’re probably not going to give him a deal, but we trust the academy in terms of how they are and that’s a process moving forward.
"But the recruitment here is a real underlying process, right from top to bottom.
"Gary’s (Sweet, chief executive) involved with it, right through to Paul Watson (operations director), to Phil Chapple (head of scouting operations), to Mick (Harford, assistant manager), to Jay (Socik, head of recruitment analysis), to myself, Chris (Clark, club secretary), all of us.
"We’re all involved in that process, right down to the moment they sign.”