Vassell backed by Hatters chief not to lose focus

Striker Isaac Vassell won't let the speculation surrounding his future affect him going into this weekend's League Two clash at Barnet, according to boss Nathan Jones.

Thursday, 10th August 2017, 3:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:22 am
Luton forward Isaac Vassell
Luton forward Isaac Vassell

The 23-year-old has been the subject of firm interest from the likes of Bristol City and Birmingham recently, with the club keen to safeguard one of their prized assets by offering him a new contract too.

He missed Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat to Ipswich Town with an illness, but is fit for Saturday’s trip to the Hive Stadium and on whether his head was in the right place, Jones said: “Right now it is as far as today’s training is, he’s been right at it.

“I doubt it will be different because it never has been in the past regardless of what’s happened to him as it’s been a big year for him and a tough year at times.

“He’s had to go through a few personal things which the club have been there for him, now he’s in a good place.

“Whatever happens, he’s in a hell of a better place than he was a year ago, when he was just coming in, starting the thing, now he’s getting talked about.

“You can see he was right at it on Saturday and he is. The trouble is these days a lot of things happen to young footballers that take away their focus, but once they’re focused, they’re the same people.

“He’s a joy to work with and I care about him. He’s a Luton player and we’re proud and he should be proud to play for Luton, because he’s been a big part of what we do.”

After Town chief executive Gary Sweet clarified Vassell’s situation exclusively to the Luton News yesterday, confirming it was unlikely that he would be sold in the window, Jones added: “It’s what we’ve talked about for the last month.

“I know what happens every single day and trust me, we haven’t just had offers for Isaac, I’ve been literally like Joe Root, batting off stuff, all through the summer, so it’s nothing new to me.

“What I don’t want it to do is detract away from the focus of the team.

“I understand media have a role to play, but that’s the statement, that’s it, until something changes then we won’t (say anything).

“But we’re hoping and we envisage that it doesn’t because we want him here.

“We like Isaac, in fact we love Isaac. Yes we’ve given him an opportunity, but he’s taken that opportunity, so it’s a 50/50 relationship that we have.

“He’s a wonderful young man, he goes about his work, has a great work ethic, has a humility about him that’s very rare these days in the youth and I love the kid.

“I do not want to stand in his way in any kind of way. If I believe that I’m not taking his career forward then he will go with our blessing.

“But right at this point, we believe that he’s just a year into his development and that kid can be as good as anyone I’ve seen, he just needs time.”