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SONNY BRADLEY HAPPY WITH NORWICH MINUTES AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW SEASON

27 July 2018

Town defender Sonny Bradley believes there are a lot of positives to take from the Hatters' outing against Norwich City on Wednesday evening, in which the Canaries defeated Nathan Jones' side 3-1 at Kenilworth Road.

The 26-year-old – who joined the Hatters after his contract expired with Plymouth – explained how important it was for the players to play a full match, with him keen to see any "sloppy goals" eradicated ahead of the new campaign.

Bradley said: "I think it was good for all the boys to get the first 90 minutes of the season. I think that was the main thing, that everyone came off the pitch healthy and stronger than when they went on it. Overall, we're happy.

"We conceded sloppy goals in the first half. For the first five minutes we looked good, we looked sharp, then we allow a corner, it's a bit scrappy then it ends up in the back of the net and we looked a bit deflated after that. We came off our shape slightly, their shape probably worked better against ours. Then there is a penalty and a quick switch of play, a quick ball in the box and suddenly it's 3-0 and the game is over.

"We came in at half-time and we recognised where we went wrong and recognised that we needed to change the shape a little bit, and probably show them a little bit more respect. Second half they obviously had a lot more possession, but we won the second half 1-0 so to get the minutes in was the main thing. It's disappointing to get beaten but overall I'm happy."

Fitness is one of the key parts of pre-season and with 90 minutes under his belt, Bradley felt as if this test against the Canaries has already helped going forward into tomorrow's game against Notts County, with the Hatters' opening day fixture against Portsmouth just over a week away.

"The last ten minutes I was blowing a bit, but that is normal," he continued.

"No matter how much you play in pre-season, how much you train, to build up that real match fitness, you have to start getting 90 minutes in. I feel like I've come away with a lot more in the tank so going into Saturday, the rest of the boys will try and get their 90 minutes in. I think training is going to step up now as we build up to Portsmouth which I'm sure will be a good game."

The Hatters pre-season training regime has also allowed Bradley to pair up with more or less every other central defender in the squad, giving Nathan Jones a selection headache as to who will be in the starting 11 on the opening day of the season. But Bradley enjoys the competition and is confident in all of Jones' options.

He said: "We've got four really good centre halves at this club, I think the gaffer obviously wants to see what we're like together in different pairs. Lloyd Jones, Matty Pearson and Alan Sheehan have all been good so far, so the manager has got a difficult decision to make at the start of the season, but it's a good one to have I think, because all four of us are ready to play in this division.

"Competition is exactly what I want. I don't want to turn up every week knowing I'm going to play. I want to be chasing someone, I want someone behind me desperate to get into my position. It's healthy competition and I've come into the squad with a great set of lads who all want to improve.

"It's not just the starting 11, it's everyone. We're all in it together, we all have the same goal, we all have the same drive and I think if we stay together and stay like that then I'm sure we're going to have a good season."

With Town's first campaign back in League One for a decade just around the corner, Bradley is itching to get started, and admits that Kenilworth Road can be a hostile atmosphere to play in. This time he'll be in an orange shirt when the Hatters run out onto the pitch for their first league game of the season, when they entertain Sunderland.

He added: "I can't wait [to play at a full Kenilworth Road]. It was nice to get out there against Norwich and get a bit of a feel for it, but it's going to be completely different come the first game of the season.

"I've played here before when it's full, I know what it's like and it's not nice to be on the opposing team. So when Sunderland turn up here we need to make them feel uncomfortable and work that in our favour."


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