The Hatters boss on the £15,000 fine
Hatters boss Nathan Jones was left scratching his head after the Town received a maximum £15,000 fine from the EFL for fielding what the league ruled were under-strength squads in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Town won two out of their three group games in the competition, including an away victory against League One side Gillingham.
The club released a statement yesterday after being informed of the toughest possible sanction, with chief executive Gary Sweet expressing his disappointment at the size of the fine.
Reacting to the fine at his Ely Way press conference today, Jones said: “I am staggered really, it’s unbelievable. Not to say too much to get myself in trouble, I don’t understand the justification. Ok they have gone to the letter of the law, but circumstances prevail.
“We’ve a squad here and we are trying to do things right on three fronts; four fronts really because we gave two Championship teams a right good game in the EFL Cup and mixed it up in those. We made one or two changes for those games.
“So we have given four competitions a right good go. If you are involved in four competitions, you have to have a squad that can handle that and we have treated every single game with utmost respect.
“We have tried to win every single game, and I just feel it’s unjustified. I don’t see the logic in it. The EFL want to promote young English talent.
“They want to encourage teams to play young English talent, but it seems they only want clubs to play young English Premier League talent. Not talent that we have here.
“We won two out of three games. We were the better side against Millwall for 70 minutes, then the learning curve for my younger players was they couldn’t see the game out, which was brilliant for us in terms of a learning curve.
“We had the biggest crowd of the round, so our fans take it seriously, we take it seriously and then we get fined for it.
“You look at other teams that have made substitutions, named managers on the bench and so on.
“Is that taking it seriously? I could have played myself, I have got 600 League games. But I didn’t, because we do it right and we have a process here.
“What they have done is just looked at that process and said: ‘Your process isn’t good enough.’ Well I am telling them it is. Come and see what work we do. Come and see the work we do with the youngsters. Come and have look at the talent these boys have got.
“We have given them a platform, we have given them a pathway and all they have done is tried to hinder that, they won’t.”
Town take on Morecambe this weekend, as Jones looks to ensure his side cement their position in around the promotion places.
A win or a draw against the Shrimps would see the Hatters go nine games without defeat in the league, but Jones admits his team are in for a real battle.
He said: “They’re a really dangerous side, they’ve got contrasting form home and away, they’ve got good players and individuals. We know of Ellison’s strengths and we know of Stockton’s threat.
“We have got a fully fit squad, apart from Danny Green. There’s no excuses, we have trained well this week.”