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13 March 2017

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The Hatters sit just a point behind Keith Curle's side

Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes tomorrow night’s game against Carlisle provides the perfect springboard for his team to return to form after Saturday’s disappointing home defeat to Stevenage.

The Hatters fell to a frustrating 2-0 loss against the Hertfordshire side on Saturday, but Jones said he has had time to reflect on the occasion and all he can do now is prepare his team for their next game.

“I have watched it back and clipped it out and we have debriefed today,” he explained at his press conference at Ely Way this lunchtime. “Look, it was a disappointing performance, in such a big game.

“We aren’t going to dwell on that. We have been in good form, we are in a good position, we just have to consolidate that now and learn from it, which we will. Fortunately we have got a nice one to bounce back on Tuesday night at Carlisle.”

Former Hatter Luke Wilkinson gave Saturday’s visitors the lead early on, as headed in from a cross from corner, with Jones frustrated the way in which his team conceded.

The ex-Brighton and Yeovil defender said: “You can do what you can do on it, a lot of the time it’s just individuals marking individuals. We walk them through the run that people make on regular occasions and the areas that they score from.

“We can’t really do more than that, then it’s down to individuals. The keeper could deal with it a little bit better, and so could Scotty who has done very well for us and normally marks their best one.

“It’s just unfortunate because we actually have more set-plays than anyone else. We have a good invention about things, it’s just about us nailing down those things and adding a real concentration. Not just when we are defending them but when we are attacking as well, because we have a real good variation on them. Sometimes we just go to sleep on those things.

“What we have to do now is dust ourselves down. There’s 11 games left. I wouldn’t want to be in this position with any other players than the group I have, because I love them.”

His captain had to be withdrawn in the second half as he went down with a hamstring injury, with Jones sure if he isn’t fit tomorrow, he has the players at his disposal to fill the void left by the 29-year-old.

Jones continued: “It’s a hamstring thing, so we might not risk him but we’ll assess everything day-by-day.

“He’s our captain, so he is a big miss, but the squad we have, we have different options. Scott’s a certain type of centre half, Glen’s different, Johnny’s different, Sheez is different. Whatever we have will fit into our game plan.

“We have the strength in our squad, so the others we have are ample deputies. Whatever we pick will be a very competitive team and back four. Glen and Alan played there last year up at Carlisle. I’ve looked at that game recently and the way we played, they defended fantastically well, so if I wanted to go for those two then I could.”

Dan Potts made his first start since picking up a knee injury in the New Year’s Eve win over Barnet at the weekend, before being withdrawn at half-time.

Jones said: “Dan’s been out for a long period of time and we brought him back in as we felt we needed something.

“Then because we lost a goal so quickly, we went back to what we did at Yeovil. It’s part and parcel, I spoke to Dan. Dan’s a great lad and I could say that with Jack Senior and James Justin that they would be disappointed as well. We pick sides on certain games, what we need and if everyone’s at it.

“No-one could turn around on the weekend say, ‘Well hang on, I deserve this,’ because we weren’t right at it at the weekend. So now we’re looking for a reaction and we’re hoping that Dan shows that.”

Hatters Player subscribers can watch Nathan Jones’ full press conference by clicking here.

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