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NATHAN JONES ON TRANSFER DEADLINE & SUNDERLAND

The gaffer's pre-Sunderland press conference from earlier this afternoon

9 August 2018

At his pre-match press conference earlier this afternoon, Hatters boss Nathan Jones told the local media that he expects a quiet end to the transfer window this evening after making four additions to the squad earlier in the summer.

Jones says his main focus is firmly on the Town’s first home league game of the season against Sunderland on Saturday.

The gaffer feels as if he only needs to add to the squad if a player will make a real difference to the team. After signing Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley and Jorge Grant, as well as making Andrew Shinnie a permanent addition to the squad following his season-long loan from Birmingham, the Welshman is confident that he’s made all his signings of the summer.

He said: “We’re pretty much done. You never know, sometimes things open up, but I don’t envisage there being too much in or out. Hopefully five o’clock will come around and we can move on.”

After rumours emerged over the future of Jack Stacey at the club, with West Brom interested in the young full back, Jones says he expects to see the 22-year-old remaining at the club come 5pm when the window shuts.

“I don’t know if they will come in for him again, I can’t second guess what West Brom are going to do, but hopefully we can all put this one to bed, hopefully we get to the deadline and move forward,” he said.

The Welshman was pleased with his side’s performance at Portsmouth last week, but is eager for the team to push on after their defeat on the opening day.

With Danny Hylton back from suspension and available for Saturday, and Luke Berry close to returning from injury, the manager is confident in the ability of his team.

He said: “Hylton is a game player, he’s a match player, so it’s good to have him back in the squad and have him at our disposal.

“The development game against Brentford on Monday was probably a week too early for Berry to play, if we’d had the game next Monday then we would have included him in the game.

“It was a week too early to test him, but he’s looking better week in week out so it’s important that we don’t rush him, but we put him into the game when the time is right.”

With the Black Cats travelling down to Luton on Saturday, Jones expects a sold-out Kenilworth Road to be an exciting atmosphere on the day. The man in charge wants his side to get used to playing in these big occasions, with such high ambitions in place for the club’s future.

“It will be a good atmosphere, obviously with our fans first and foremost, but then obviously I’d imagine Sunderland will bring a few as well so it’ll be a big football game,” said Jones.

“But these are not just one-off occasions now, these are what we have to start getting used to and start getting used to quickly because we don’t just want to stop here, we want all the big sides to be coming to Kenilworth Road.

“To do that we have to make sure that we perform very well at this level. Let’s make sure we enjoy it but we only enjoy it really if you get something out of the game and we’d like to win.”

Sunderland remain firm favourites to go straight back up to the Championship at the end of this campaign, but this hasn’t affected Jones going into the season and the match on Saturday. He believes that the expectation on the squad could have an impact.

He added: “It’s difficult to know if they are favourites for the title. What I don’t like is mentioning what people used to say about us: ‘They’ve got the biggest budget, which we didn’t.

“Sunderland have got a massive budget. It’s not their fault, they’ve fallen on some hard times in terms of league things and now they’re in this league and they’re the big club in the division.

“It’s difficult because they’ve got a bigger budget than everyone else but one, they’ve got to get the right type of players and not only that, they have to handle that expectation. It’s a difficult job the Sunderland one.

“So, they are probably favourites because of the size of the club and the budget, but along with that comes a lot of pressure and there are a lot of good sides who can challenge.”

 

 


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