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THE GAFFER ON ACCRINGTON STANLEY TEST

10 November 2016

The Hatters boss is expecting a tough match against Stanley

Town boss Nathan Jones said his side face a tough task against Accrington Stanley this Saturday at Kenilworth Road, after the Hatters’ ten-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end with the midweek Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Millwall.

Stanley are currently sat just outside the play-off places and a win could push them into the top seven in League Two.

Known for a similar approach as the Hatters, John Coleman’s side play an open style of football, but Jones made it clear he isn’t going to make his side change their style to suit other teams.

Jones said: “I don’t think we’ve gone into a game not to win, including against Villa and Leeds, who are both top Championship teams.



“It’s going to be a difficult game because Accrington are a very good side. They have a dangerous way about them in the way they play, they’re a fluent side.

“They have dangerous players, they always have since I have known this league. That’s no different this year.”

The Hatters are unbeaten in seven league games, but are 11 points off top side Plymouth Argyle. When asked about Argyle’s fantastic form, Jones pointed out that the league isn’t decided this early on in the season.

“It’s 15 games – nothing is won in November,” said Jones. “Plymouth are in real good from at the moment. If they continue that then they would be worthy of winning the league if they don’t lose another game.

“Carlisle are matching them in terms of form. What we have to do is make sure we are in and around the pack. We know what side we have. We have a squad that can handle a full season. We had a stat this week that said Northampton Town were fourth at this point last season, so we’ll take their pathway.”

The Hatters were on an unbeaten run of ten matches in all competitions, but suffered their first defeat since mid-September against League One Millwall on Tuesday.

Jones thought the match was a stern test for the side he picked and was pleased with the way they played for a majority of the game in the 3-1 defeat at Kenilworth Road.

He continued: “I thought for about 70 minutes we weren’t quite excellent, but we weren’t far off. It was a real good game.

“I think for the last 20 minutes we ran out of legs a little bit, players like Craig Mackail-Smith, Josh McQuoid, Jack Senior and both centre-backs have lacked a bit of football lately, that showed late on.



“I thought it was a realistic test for them, especially for both centre-halves who came up against a real aerial threat.

“I think we played in the right manner, both sides wanted to win and wanted to finish top. I thought it was a credit to the tournament.”

The Hatters have seen the return of Mackail-Smith from injury in recent weeks, with the striker pleasing Jones with the progress he has made.

The Welshman said: “He has comeback with a real freshness and you saw that on the weekend and the other night. I think his work rate and his runs were what we expected from him.

“The competition we have, we have five or six strikers. We have got good competition and they know they have to be at it, but it gives us options to freshen up if we need to.”

Jack Marriott wasn’t risked last weekend after he sustained an ankle injury against Notts County a fortnight ago, whilst Johnny Mullins injured his foot in the warm up at Exeter City.

Jones said: “Jack’s back in training now, we could have forced him back if it was a do or die game. The ones who came in did well and we managed to win the game.

“Johnny’s comeback and he has done really well. We were worried it might have been a little bit more serious, but it isn’t, so we are really pleased and he has trained today.”

Hatters Player subscribers can watch Jones’ full press conference ahead of this weekend’s match against Accrington Stanley, by clicking here.

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