Jones: Three games a week is proving too much for Luton

Luton chief Graeme Jones admitted playing three games in a week in the Championship is just too much for his players at the moment.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 1:16 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 1:19 pm
Hatters chief Graeme Jones

After an excellent display in drawing 3-3 at home to Fulham on Boxing Day, Town then struggled when playing twice in the space of the next six days, limply going down 3-0 at Bristol City, before leading 1-0 at Millwall with 21 minutes to go, only to be beaten 3-1.

It's been a similar story all season for Jones' men, apart from back in August when Luton managed to beat Barnsley 3-1 after matches against West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday the week before.

Since then, when Hatters have faced three league games in the space of seven days or shorter, they have always lost the last fixture, at Derby (2-0), Birmingham (2-1), Brentford (7-0), Preston (2-1) and now Millwall.

With no midweek encounters until February 12, when Town host Sheffield Wednesday, Jones stated: "I haven’t said too much, because now we’re going through a period after Bournemouth where we’re playing one game a week for five or six weeks.

"We’ve been fine one game a week in general, but every time we’ve played three games a week, or three games in six days, where you need a bit of a healthy squad, the same quality to come in, those saturated periods, it's really, really caught up with us.

"I can think back now to playing, competing really, really well against Leeds, beating Charlton and then going to Brentford and getting beat.

"Playing really, really well against Fulham, great performance, not at Bristol City, not enough today (Millwall), the last 20 minutes, we couldn’t re-energise it again.

"That’s the three game weeks, the three games in six days are the period where we become a little bit non-competitive and that’s really difficult to take."

At the New Den, once Tom Bradshaw equalised on 69 minutes, there only ever looked like one winner, as it was to prove, with the Lions netting twice more to secure victory.

On why Luton looked so fragile once parity was restored, Jones continued: "You’ve got a group of players who are mentally and physically given a whack.

"They are absolutely operating on a one hundred and one per cent every time they play and I think when a goal goes in against you, mentally we find it very, very tough to react.

"There were some good aspects, I thought defensively we were good for 45 minutes, we worked really, really well, were difficult to break down, played on the counter.

"Obviously if you’ve got certain players fit, that counter would be a bit more potent, a bit more threatening, so I’ve got no worries that we can’t get results in one game weeks, but at the minute the three games in six days, three games in seven days is just too much."

With Town facing four more weeks where they will play three games in seven days, now the transfer window is open for business, Jones is hopeful of being in the position to ensure his side can cope.

He added: "We need to get some reinforcements in then we’ll be competitive in the one game a week.

"Hopefully towards the end of the window we can do some business, hopefully recruit another one or two that makes us competitive when the three games a week comes back."