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NATHAN JONES: 'I DON'T WANT TO TINKER TOO MUCH'

But the gaffer wants players coming into the side to give "pure competition"

11 September 2017

Hatters boss Nathan Jones says he doesn’t want to tinker with his side too much ahead of the game with Port Vale at Kenilworth Road tomorrow night – although he will have to make at least one change with captain Scott Cuthbert suspended following his red card against Swindon.

The Town chief refused to “get really down and cane the players” after the 3-0 defeat to the Robins, with Cuthbert sent-off just after the half-hour for hauling down Keshi Anderson in the six-yard box and conceding the penalty from which the Wiltshire outfit took the lead.

Jones was pleased with how Town had played in the opening 30 minutes at 11 v 11, saying: “We aren’t getting too carried away with it being a real bad performance and we’ve lost 3-0. I’ve only lost by that margin once before since I’ve been here. It was disappointing, but we realise the reasons for that.”

Asked whether experienced centre-half Johnny Mullins will come back into the squad in place of Cuthbert, Jones told the local media at his press conference this lunchtime: “We love Johnny here, we respect him and we know he’ll do very well for us. He comes into the squad, as does Akin Famewo.

“The competition is rife and we really want that to be. I want the competition. I want the ones that go in tomorrow to play well enough to stay in because I want to eradicate silly errors. I want to eradicate these things, because they’ve been the downfall of us.

“At no point since I’ve been here have we come against a side – Portsmouth have been as good a side as we’ve played – but at no point have we been outplayed by a team. At no point have we been on the back-foot. But we give teams a chance, and that’s got to stop.

“No matter what work we do, that’s an individual concentration and decision-making process – and we have to cut that out because that has been the downfall for us in terms of drawing games. We don’t lose too many games, but we’ve drawn too many.”

With Town hosting bottom-placed Vale tomorrow, the Welshman insists he doesn’t want to make more changes than are necessary due to suspension and fitness issues.

The Town kick-off in 13th place in the Sky Bet League Two table, but three points could lift them back comfortably into the play-off zone.

“I don’t want to change too much, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously I’m enforced to make at least one change tomorrow night, but what I want to do is play what I feel is my best XI for as much as I possibly can. We’ve got pure competition then.

“Certain things dictate that. Three games in a week for certain people, especially with the distances as lot of them do, is one. Then we’ve got a good squad where we can freshen things up.

“What I won’t do is tinker and change and rotate for the sake of it. I won’t do that now. We’ve got to have pure competition. We’ve got people coming back to form, finding their feet.

“Danny Hylton is still finding his feet for example, and he needs the game time because he’s technically still in pre-season. He’s only three weeks into his season, so he’s finding his feet and he needs the games, so it’ll be good for him.

“But look, we are yet to really hit the ground running.”


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