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NATHAN JONES WANTS TO SEE IMPROVEMENT IN FIRST HALF PERFORMANCES

3 September 2018

Hatters boss Nathan Jones wants to see his side improve on their start to the new campaign as they take on Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy tomorrow evening.

The Town have started their Sky Bet League One campaign by picking up eight points from their opening six games, but have had more success in the second half of matches compared to the first 45 minutes of games.

The gaffer has been disappointed with the mixed performances in games, but hopes to see his team start to eradicate the errors that have held them back.

Jones said: "It is frustrating. If we just played the second half we'd be top of the league and if we played just the first half we'd be lower than where we are. But that's something we have to eradicate, we're not getting dominated, there's just little errors, silly little things and we're getting punished at this level.

"Last year we might not have been, but this year we are getting punished for every little thing. So we have to make sure we're a bit more resilient, we defend better and not let the runner go and not see the danger, because that's happened in one or two games.

"The week before with the penalty, it's lacklustre defending. We're not seeing danger, we're just dangling legs and those are the things that are costing us at the minute and we have to defend properly first.

"Then we've got to show our good side going forward. If we keep clean sheets, there's only one game we haven't scored in."

Eunan O'Kane was the only deadline day deal for the Hatters, as the Republic of Ireland midfielder arrived on loan from Leeds United while Jake Jervis and Luke Gambin headed out to AFC Wimbledon and Crawley Town respectively.

The manager wants to get minutes under O'Kane's belt quickly to build up match fitness, .

"We know the quality he has got, he's not match fit yet, so we've got to get him match fit so he's able to start to impact for long periods of time," Jones continued.

"We knew exactly the quality we were getting when we signed Eunan and that's what we have. We recruit good players with energy. We don't recruit big, strong, strapping midfielders that are destroyers, so we make sure we impose our game on teams and that's what we didn't do in the first half against Wycombe.

"Second half we were much, much better and the changes made us a little bit more productive and we could, and probably should have won the game."

Strength in depth was key last season to the Hatters' success, and the Welshman believes the Town still have that up top, even with the departure of Jervis.

"We've definitely got enough, we've got four first choice strikers plus Aaron Jarvis, who will get an opportunity to push his way. The trouble is, when you've got five, you put two on, two on the bench, then you've got one unhappy. So providing they stay fit, people like Hylton, Cornick, Collins and Lee, that's a wealth of quality.

"They're all different. Danny was out for Saturday, but we feel we are in good place striker wise and with our attacking options.

"Yes, you can have six or seven, but that doesn't mean they're going to be any more productive because only two can play. We've always had a surplus there."


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