The gaffer hopes to welcome Justin and Sheehan back into the fold
Town boss Nathan Jones believes the momentum his side have built up in the past five weeks has put them in a good place heading into the first leg of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final this Sunday at Blackpool.
With a seven-match unbeaten run and three successive wins propelling the Hatters into the play-offs, the Welshman hopes his boys’ strong form and consistent performances will give them plenty of confidence when they face Gary Bowyer’s side in the 6.30pm kick-off at Bloomfield Road.
The Hatters manager said: “You want to go in with momentum, because momentum is a big thing in any walk of life, especially in sport. Momentum is a big, big thing and we have got that. Blackpool are in good form, we can’t affect that. All we can do is make sure we are, and we are in good form.
“Players are performing well and not just our strikers – strikers obviously put the ball in the back of the net so they get the headlines – but we have got people who are in good form all over.
“So that’s important, it’s a big challenge. A year ago we were on holiday and now we have something to look forward to, so that’s a good progression and we are really happy.”
The Hatters suffered a late setback in the build up to last weekend’s win over Morecambe after Alan Sheehan picked up a knock in training, before fellow defender James Justin was stretchered off in the second half with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
Both have recovered well according to Jones, with both in contention to play some part this weekend.
“We are in good shape, obviously we’ve got a couple of knocks from last week with Sheehan and James Justin,” Jones continued. “So hopefully they can recover, we have given them maximum time. It hasn’t been a really intense week in terms of bang, bang, bang on it.
“We trained well on Wednesday, today we are going to do our normal Thursday, our usual prep day and then we are going to evaluate then.
“We hope JJ will be available. We do hope so because he is in wonderful form, he is a wonderful young player and it would be a shame for him to miss it. He has recovered very, very well as young people tend to do, so we have given him the maximum time and we will see where we are.”
The 19-year-old has been linked with current Premier League champions, Leicester City, in the press this week, but Jones says Justin has a number of admirers and the Foxes wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t have an eye on the fantastic progress the defender has made.
Jones said: “Look, if I were Leicester – a Premier league club – I would be watching James Justin. They’re doing their job. I know for a fact there is plenty monitoring him. James Justin is our player and he is a wonderful, wonderful player.
“He is going to be even better, this is the right place for him. He must be flattered and we are flattered that people are coveting our young players, but he’s under contract and he is a key member of what we do here.”
Jones added: “The boy is in wonderful form, he has excelled this year. He has played over 30 games in his first season, which is a wonderful thing. He has all the criteria to be a top full-back, but he is Luton’s top full-back and we see him remaining that for the foreseeable future.”
The gaffer has a big selection dilemma for the game at Bloomfield Road, with top scorer Danny Hylton available after completing his two-match ban following his sending off against Notts County.
However, Town appeared more than comfortable without the 28-year-old leading the line, as they netted four up at Accrington Stanley, before putting three past the Shrimps, with Isaac Vassell and Jack Marriott on target in both matches playing alongside Ollie Palmer.
“To have Danny back, who is as good as any player at this level, providing that competition is wonderful,” Jones explained. “Ironically, we have put two real good goalscoring performances in, in his absence, so there’s a decision to be made there in terms of who starts. A while ago it seemed unthinkable, but not now with some of the form they are in.”
There are a limited amount of tickets available for Town supporters for Sunday's game, so if you want to be at Bloomfield Road cheering on the Hatters, make sure you get in contact with the Ticket Office before 5pm this afternoon!
If you aren't able to make the trip, but still want to see Jones' team in action, why not come and watch the game in the Eric Morecambe Lounge with all the info available for that event here.
Hatters Player subscribers can watch Jones’ full press conference by clicking here.