Nathan looks back on training camp and Paksi friendly
Manager Nathan Jones and his Luton Town team are back in training at their Ely Way base after spending last week at the Globall Football Park in Hungary.
The Hatters boss was full of praise for the venue – the Hungarian FA’s equivalent of St George’s Park – near Budapest, and believes it has helped his squad bond ahead of the Sky Bet League Two season.
“We went to a football facility, or a sports facility, so it was really conducive to our pre-season work,” said Jones. “We had a good bit of bonding and saw a beautiful city, but did some real good training and nailed a few things down – and came back injury-free, which was excellent.
“That is always paramount in pre-season, that you get fit and stay fit. The lads did that. We had a few little tweaks, with Scotty Cuthbert, nothing serious. But he was able to come away and bond and do his rehab away in a different facility.
“It was excellent, and we’d like to thank Globall for their hospitality and the way they treated us. We had a real good week.”
Jones’ side played their first friendly on Saturday, drawing 0-0 with Paksi FC, who finished seventh in the Hungarian top-flight last season.
“We had a real good test against Paksi, who are a very good Hungarian Premier League team who provided us with a stern test in relation to the work that we did through the week, so it all ended very well on the football side,” said Jones.
“It was a realistic test for us as well, because the stuff we’d worked on last week, they actually gave us a test in doing. We couldn’t have envisaged that, so it kind of fell into place, but they were a very good possession-based side and we’d worked a lot on our defensive shape, pressing and our intensity, and we were able to do that.
“To be fair, there were a few chances and we probably had the better of them. They had one or two late on, but I felt it was a real good exercise.”
The only one of the Hatters’ summer signings not to feature against Paksi was former Walsall forward Jordan Cook, who flew out to Hungary a day later than the rest of the squad to put pen to paper on his two-year contract.
“We didn’t want to push him too early,” said Jones. “It’s a long pre-season and we don’t want to push him too early and he breaks down. He’s going to be an important player for us, so it was one we just held back on. He’s had a few blisters, so we didn’t want to push him too much too early.”
Looking ahead to this Saturday’s trip to Bedford Town and the start of a series of domestic friendlies, Jones said: “Now we kick on, we up our intensity slightly, demand a little bit more from them and push on, because we are still only in the beginning of the third week of pre-season but we want to push on safely and quickly.
“It’ll be a mixture of the sides at Bedford, but instead of playing two different teams getting 45 minutes each, we might have to push for a 60 and a 30, and alternate on the Tuesday night. We are upping their minutes, but safely and gradually.”
And on the subject of adding to the six summer signings he has already made, Jones added: “They are in the pipeline, and if we can add that strength to us, we are only one or two short of being final.
“So hopefully we can do those in the near future and then move on into the season.”