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NATHAN JONES ON SQUAD DEPTH AND JAMES JUSTIN

28 September 2017

Town manager Nathan Jones says he is happy with the depth of his squad as it continues to be tested with a number of key players out through injury and suspension ahead of Saturday's game against Newport County at Kenilworth Road.

Lawson D'Ath, Andrew Shinnie, Alan McCormack, Johnny Mullins and Elliot Lee all carrying an injury, whilst Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Luke Berry are seeing out their second and third games respectively following red cards they picked up in recent games.

Jones said of his team's depth: "The squad is getting tested now, which we keep saying to everyone all the time. So if the players need it reiterating, the board have been fantastic in terms of the squad we need.

"But we want to stay at the level for a minimum of 46 games, so obviously you have got cup games as well. You need a strong squad and praise the lord we have, because the seven we have got out we have got some real, real quality in there and some big players – they would be that for any side at this level."

Saturday's match against the Exiles will be the Town's seventh and final game of September, with the gaffer using all he has at his disposal to judge a player's fitness ahead of each game.

"All you can do is make decisions the information you have," he continued. "We have GPS, we have questionnaires, we have certain things. We ask them to be honest with certain things with us.

"If they come in and they're stiff or tired or there's something up, then we can monitor their load from there. If someone is doing big, big distances consistently – the likes of Jack Stacey, Danny Hylton and Harry Cornick – you have to look after those in training because otherwise they just keep running and fatigue will lead to injury. So it's all a process really.

"We believe we have got a good environment and a good process, we can't curb everything. We try to only sign athletes. If you sign someone who is not used to working hard then they're going to break down. So that's what we try not to do. We try to recruit good athletes anyway. But with the process we use we try to keep them as fit as we can."

Supporters have been keen to see James Justin back involved in first team action given the fact that he is not only a home-grown player, but his involvement with England Under-20s has further added to the belief in the quality of player the Hatters have on their hands.

However Jones was keen to point out that the 19-year-old's lack of involvement has been down to reintroducing him back into first team football the right way, given the hamstring injury the Town academy graduate picked up over the summer.

Jones explained: "The big thing now is about getting James Justin up to speed because it's been a real disjointed start for him – he hasn't had a proper pre-season. Obviously getting injured with England, then coming back so he missed the whole of pre-season. The first game he really had was the Tottenham game, then he went away again with England. So it's been a real disjointed thing for him.

"What we have to do is get James right up to speed, so if we get him right up to speed then we have got two excellent right backs. The next couple of weeks will give us an opportunity to get James up to speed.

"It's not like we're not playing him or leaving him out, it has not been like that. We have had to be patient with him because of what happened in the summer. He's finding his feet. He played in the Brentford development squad friendly the other day and he wasn't as sharp as he usually is because he is finding his feet. We have just got to get him there safely.

"It's the same with Danny Hylton, Danny missed all of pre-season. If we let Danny get frustrated then he wouldn't be as productive as he is now proving. He's getting bang up to speed, he's probably just coming out of his pre-season, we should see good signs from him."

Tickets for Saturday's game against Newport County AFC are still available from the Ticket Office in person, over the phone on 01582 416976 and online, which you can access by clicking here.

 


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