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JONES FULL OF ADMIRATION FOR HATTERS YOUNGSTERS

11 February 2016

The Under-18s reached the last eight of the FA Youth Cup with victory at Preston

Hatters manager Nathan Jones expressed his admiration for the youth side's achievements and team mentality after another fantastic result for the Under-18s on Wednesday evening.

Paul Driver’s youngsters overcame Preston North End to reach the last eight of the FA Youth Cup last night, setting up a trip to youth Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers.

Now Jones hopes the winning feeling can continue through Town teams at all levels of football.

“It feels fitting to talk about them, with what they’ve done and the way they’ve achieved it and gone about everything,” he said.

“It’s superb for the football club, and it’s superb for Paul and the players. We’re immensely proud of them. They’re a tight-knit group and they’ve done fantastically well to get to the last eight, which is no mean feat, and we’re looking to get further in the competition.

“Paul has done a great job, with the way they’ve gotten all together and what they [the players] are giving him is a credit to him and to Luton Town.

“We’re trying to breed a winning mentality throughout. It usually starts with the first team, but we’re making small steps with them, and the youth team have demonstrated that mentality, so long may that continue.

“If players are going to step up, then they need that winning attitude.”

The boss stated that he will be looking at some of the young talent that is coming through the side as he looks to strengthen the relationship between the senior and youth teams at Kenilworth Road.

“The club has a tradition of producing wonderful young players and there is the process here, and I’m hoping to give them a pathway and they can get the opportunities,” Jones continued.

“We’ve had Frankie [Musonda] with us and Zane Banton too, and there’s one or two we’re well aware of from the youth team. 

“We want to set up that process with young players, developing and integrating them through the system and then hopefully having that pathway to playing first-team football.

“By doing that we can hopefully attract good young players to Luton Town to join that process. The fans also love that home-grown talent coming through, their own players, and that’s why we’re looking to create an environment conducive to doing that.”

Jones also commented on the ethos the Town youngsters have, praising the way they set up and perform under Driver.

“They’ve been working on their penalties, so fair play to them, it’s not something that’s just happened.

“You often see that these youth games are close so it’s worth practising in case this sort of thing happens. They don’t concede too many, and knew the game would be tight.

“But what they give the manager is the best thing about it – they have a great team ethic. They believe in the manager that’s leading them and that’s a big part of what makes the team what it is.” 

You can watch the manager's pre-match press conference here on Hatters Player.

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