Jones: Nombe won't be judged on Championship debut after being substituted at half time

Striker replaced at the break after struggling against Barnsley

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 1:12 pm
Town striker Sam Nombe during his first Championship start
Town striker Sam Nombe during his first Championship start

Luton boss Nathan Jones won't judge striker Sam Nombe too harshly on his performance during a first full Championship start for the club against Barnsley yesterday which ended prematurely when he was substituted at half time.

The 22-year-old was handed his debut in the second tier as one of two changes from the 2-0 defeat to Derby County on Good Friday, Martin Cranie also coming into the Town side.

However, the on-loan MK Dons attacker struggled in the opening 45 minutes, as starved of any real service he barely featured in proceedings, with just 12 touches and a passing accuracy rate of less than 20 per cent.

Nombe, who signed on loan for the Hatters back in October from MK Dons with a view to a permanent move, didn't reappear following the interval, replaced by Harry Cornick, but when asked about his first outing, Jones said: “It was a very difficult game for him to come in, so he won’t be judged on that.

“But I want him to be better, to do more, to be more aggressive, because their front men didn’t quite live on scraps, but they bullied us and got hold of it and were better and that was the difference.

“They could get a foothold in the game, get up the pitch, because they went long, squeezed it as quickly as possible, and then it was very difficult.

“We were let down by a few decisions as well when we were in, but we were off it all over today.”

Midfielder Glen Rea was the other player to make way at the break, as he couldn't ever have the kind of impact that Jones wanted against Town's play-off chasing opponents.

The boss continued: "I think he struggled today and that’s why he came off at half time.

“The things I put him in the team for, to be dominant, to screen that front, he hasn’t been, he didn’t do that today.

"We’ve got to make sure that we find the best team, the most productive team, and then go from there.”

After Town conceded the opening goal for the second time over the Easter period, they were always up against it, rarely threatening a comeback until late on, as Jones added: "The whole performance was disappointing and when you have disappointing, you're not on the front foot you don't do the basics right, then you’re going to get that.

"The first goal is so important at Championship level as very few lose from scoring the first goal.

"We haven't lost from scoring the first goal, but we’ve only won one when we’ve conceded it, so it's very difficult.

"Then the second one was so poor, while we’ve scored directly from them missing a penalty, so it could have been worse and that's just the level of performance we've had.”