Mpanzu remains an important member of Luton's squad

Midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu has been told he remains an important part of the Hatters squad by boss Nathan Jones despite dropping out of contention in recent weeks.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 6:30 am
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

The 23-year-old had been a mainstay of Town’s first team last year, making 52 appearances in total.

He began in similar fashion this term too, not missing a minute of league action until getting sent off in the 1-0 win over Chesterfield back in September.

Since then, Mpanzu has been restricted to just two league starts, although he’s always been a regular in the match day squad.

However, he missed out against Cheltenham recently and wasn’t on the bench once more at Cambridge on Saturday.

When asked whether he had suffered a dip in form this term, boss Nathan Jones said: “It’s difficult because his opportunities have been slightly more limited.

“He was in the team, got suspended, and then the team has been in excellent form since, so he’s found it difficult to get back in.

“Once that happens, then when they do come in for a game or two, they haven’t found their rhythm yet, so it’s difficult for them to really, really, really impact.

“That’s the thing we have to consider and that’s the difficult thing sometimes.

“You play with people who are in form, stick with people, whereas it would be easier to change things around, because you could justify it.

“He’s training very well, he’s an important member of our squad, as they all are, it’s just that we’ve got such a strong squad and these things happen.”

Although not featuring among the subs recently, Jones didn’t think Mpanzu should be too upset by being left out, as he added: “Not to explain our processes, but every time we’ve played Cheltenham, we’ve been ahead and then they’ve literally gone very direct late on.

“Set-plays, they put it in your box, put seven and eight players in your box.

“So we felt, if they were going to do that, we might need a little bit of extra height, so we put two centre halves on the bench as we had plenty of midfield players to cover.

“I keep trying to tell our players, sometimes you miss out from the bench and you’ve been outstanding in training, but benches are picked on what we need or what we envisage we might need.

“Again you can’t second guess it. Against Cheltenham, we didn’t have that aerial bombardment from them, because we were in control of the game for most of it.

“But benches are picked to cover all bases, to cover every eventuality if you like.”