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NATHAN JONES ON SCOTT CUTHBERT AND INTERNATIONAL CALL-UPS

15 March 2018

Town boss Nathan Jones said he was pleased to see Scott Cuthbert make his first start since returning from injury on Tuesday night, whilst also sharing his thoughts on Flynn Downes and Luke Gambin being called up for international duty by England Under-19s and Malta.

Centre-half Cuthbert fell awkwardly in the 7-0 win over Cambridge United back in mid-November, leading to the Scotsman having surgery on his groin. After a 12-week spell on the sidelines, he returned as a sub in the 1-1 draw at the Abbey at the beginning of the month.

The 30-year-old started in the 2-2 draw at Coventry on Tuesday,
heading in the first goal as the Town mounted a second-half comeback from 2-0 down at the Ricoh Arena.

Jones said: "He's been a miss for us. He's our captain. He's our most aggressive centre-half in lots of ways. We have been without a number of players for a period of time. We've named the five or six we've been without, but it's good to have the options.

"We have got a squad now that is slightly too big. But we've got good options and have decent competition, but as long as they all stay focused going forward, we've got no problems."

Flynn Downes has once again been called up for international duty with England Under-19s – the first call-up since he joined the Town – with Jones disappointed to see him go, but was accepting that it's part of the Ipswich Town loanee's development.

He continued: "They've watched him [England]. I have spoken to Paul Simpson there and the people I know within the England setup – Mark Robson and so on. Look, he's a big part of what they do.

"He's gone, he's played well when he's gone away with them before. Obviously he has come here and he has done well, he has impressed. It's good, he's come here to continue his development albeit whilst helping us to try and get promoted. It's disappointing for us, he'll be out of our squad, but at least it's part and parcel of his continued development.

"I think he has [performed as well as I was expecting], especially at home. Away from home he has had to dig in slightly more. He hasn't been as fluent away, but neither have our performances away from home.

"At home we have really shown some quality, he's been part and parcel of some real good performances in terms of the Exeter game and the Crawley game. Even the Accrington game and the Cheltenham game, we moved the ball very well and we did what we had to, just circumstances have meant we haven't picked up the points we would have liked to have done."

Gambin has impressed in recent weeks for the Hatters, playing a big role in points picked up against Cambridge United and the Sky Blues. However, the 25-year-old has been called up by the Malta international side, which means he will be unavailable for selection against his former side Barnet a week on Saturday.

"We would have liked to have a bit of a compromise on it, but it's not to be," Jones explained. "I have got a relationship with their manager, their new manager. To be fair he's just come in, so he's trying to get as much of a feel-good factor and so he wants all of his best players to go and Luke fortunately or unfortunately is one of his better players, one of his full-time players and one that he can call on from overseas.

"It's slightly frustrating for us and for Luke. It's understandable but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

"There's not much Luke can do. We knew that when we signed him and we are very proud of our internationals. Luke is long term here, we've said that.

"At times if he's missed out or if he does well and then goes away with Malta, the team have won invariably when he's been away. So it's been frustrating again and now it seems to be happening again, he's coming to the fore again with the performances and the freshness that he gives us, then we seem to be getting him super fit and confident for the Malta internationals."


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