Signings earmarked, but gaffer trusts his Hatters
Town boss Nathan Jones said he has “earmarked” a couple of signings he would like to make, but overall he is very happy with the squad at his disposal ahead of his team’s Checkatrade Trophy third round tie against Chesterfield tomorrow night.
The Hatters crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday after losing 2-1 at Accrington Stanley, with Jones saying that he was unhappy with some of the decisions made by some of his squad on the day.
But after a couple of days to reflect on events at the Wham Stadium, he told the local media at his Ely Way Press conference today: “Sometimes you say things after the game because emotions are high.
“I have got a real good group here and I am pleased with the group I have got here. Sometimes they make silly little decisions that cost them games.
“Those are the things that can’t keep happening. But the group I have got here I trust, because they’re here. I have had scope to change anyone of them, I really have. But I haven’t, because I like the group.
“Yes they can get better, but it’s only the world class players that probably have minimal improvement, so we want them all to get better.
“We are hoping the ones we have earmarked, we can bring in. But as I said, there won’t be massive changes, there won’t be wholesale things. There’s just one or two things we will add to the squad, but we have got a very, very good squad.”
He also mentioned after the Stanley game being slightly more forthcoming with his intent in this transfer window and starting XI selection, as the Hatters look to build up a real promotion push as they enter the second half of the season.
“In terms of being ruthless, that doesn’t just mean I am going to discard people,” Jones continued. “It means I make tough decisions, I am quite prepared to make tough decisions because I have had to in the past.
“It’s just now with one game a week in the league coming up, it means we can afford to be a bit more clinical in our decision making and just pick the side that we feel will have a little bit more consistency.
“[It’s about] making sure that everyone is fresh and they have an energy about us to look into the second half of the season, because we are in the second half of the season and we need to go on runs.”
During Saturday’s match, captain Scott Cuthbert went off in the first half, before James Justin had to hobble around on what appeared to be a knee injury for the last 20 minutes due to Jones using all three of his substitutions.
But the gaffer said it was a learning curve for the youngster, as well as making it clear as to why Cuthbert was unable to continue.
Jones said: “Scott wasn’t an injury, it was more illness than anything, it was affecting his breathing. That’s why we took him off and James Justin has done a recovery session today and seems fine.
“James is a young lad and any time he gets a bit of pain or anything, he is probably a bit more preoccupied than an old warhorse that was used to that kind of thing. It’s just about getting his education, but he showed fantastic character to continue playing through the pain and he feels better for it today.
“He would have grown from it because, I keep telling him, for the last seven years of my playing career I was playing with aches and pains, you’re never 100 per cent fit.
“But you learn to go through that. You learn what you can go through and what you can’t, it’s all the education and an important one too.”
A victory in tomorrow’s match will mean passage through to the quarter-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Only the Main Stand will now be open to home supporters for the 7:45pm kick-off.
*For fans travelling to tomorrow's youth team match against Barnet at The Hive, the kick-off for the fixture has been rescheduled for 1pm, instead of midday.