Luton chief hints he is in the market for full backs when transfer window opens

Hatters boss Graeme Jones gave an indication that he’ll be in the market for full backs, once the transfer window is open, after he hauled off Luke Bolton at half time during the 3-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers on Sunday.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 6:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 6:46 pm
Hatters defender James Bree on the ball against Bristol City
Hatters defender James Bree on the ball against Bristol City

The Luton chief also highlighted left back James Bree as culpable for the Robins scoring inside four minutes from a cross, despite warning his side about City’s talents in that area.

But it was Bolton who got the hook at Ashton Gate after Niclas Eliasson targeted him during a poor first half.

The young Manchester City loanee was replaced by Martin Cranie, with the veteran defender earning praise for making life more difficult for Bristol.

“We told a few home truths at half time, let one or two people know and made a substitution,” said Jones.

“It was nice to have Martin on the pitch because he’s got that experience of 400 games in the Championship, that composure, that control, but he fights his corner.

“I saw him one-v-one in the box on a header late on and he’s the one who gets his head on it and it goes out for a corner, but it’s just enough.

“We’ve been missing that for a long time.

"At Luton, I think everybody knows, with the greatest respect, we need our best players fit. We started the game with four missing and you can’t do that.

“Look at West Ham without (Lukasz) Fabianski and they’ve struggled all season. We’ve had four now not fit for maybe two months and it has caught up with us.”

Jones changed formation after the early blow at Bristol, switching to a back three.

He continued: “I could see early on we weren’t going to cope – I had plan B and plan C in my head, like I have all season, but ultimately you need to show resilience and resistance.

"With the greatest respect to Luke (Bolton) and James (Bree), they’re two young men and that was disappointing and we got off to a really difficult start.”

Town skipper Sonny Bradley believes that the young on-loan pair need help from their more experienced team-mates, adding: "Bolts is one of the quickest players in this division, so he’s got to work harder to stop the cross.

"James Bree is a brilliant defender, so he’s got to be ruthless with his marking and not let his man score.

“That’s nothing to do with our physicality, that’s a mental thing. The manager’s touched on that.”

“If they are young full backs, you’ve got to help them along and you’ve got to do what you can to help them out.

“In certain situations, they’re going to get dragged out, one-on-one and, from then, it’s their responsibility to defend and to defend well.

“Through the majority of the game, they do do it well but at the minute it just seems that every cross that does come in, it seems to, somehow, end up in the back of our net.

"It’s just the way it’s going for us at the minute. Only we can change that and that’s what we plan on doing.”