Hatters boss Graeme Jones has revealed he is pleased with where his squad is fitness wise ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Sheffield Wednesday at Kenilworth Road.
The Sky Bet Championship fixture represents an opportunity for the 49-year-old’s side to bounce back from defeat against Cardiff City on Saturday – where the Town would rue missed opportunities.
Speaking at the Brache earlier today, Jones said: “23 players trained today. We had a 30-minute ball in play practice match for the lads who haven’t played as much football lately and everybody has come through it really, really well.
“We’re talking ten or 11 weeks where we have now got everybody fit and available. What that means is, not just trained and a couple of small sided games, it means big pitch work. So from that point of view we are really healthy.
“They’re fine, the lads [after the defeat on Saturday]. Obviously we don’t want to lose football matches, but from a mental point of view they have recovered, they have healed, they’re ready to go again.
“I think it’s tough for everybody. If you start with the staff, the staff work their backsides off and don’t get rewarded, players have worked their backside off and don’t get rewarded. But you have to assess the performance, and the performance was good enough to win a football match and I felt that on Saturday, subjectively.
“Objectively, everything was enough in that performance to win. We didn’t. So I have spoken to them about why and asked them for the same level and try and have an understanding in certain periods of the game – what we have to do better.
“Certainly 60 minute mark, and how we are going to do it. And then chances come your way early on like where we were against Barnsley earlier on in the season, make sure you score. Don’t hope to score, make sure you score, we’re talking ten yards out. You have to score the goal if you’re going to win the game. The margins were so small at the weekend, but we have to turn the margins our way and hopefully we start tomorrow night."
Several chances went begging for the Hatters on Saturday and with it being a three game week, the gaffer hopes to see work on the training ground convert into goals on Wednesday night.
“I have done that today [worked on finishing],” he continued. “Today is the only day you can work. The huge physical demands – Ryan Tunnicliffe for example, he ran 1,050 metres high intensity in 78 minutes, which is a full match performance with 16 minutes to go, just massive physical effort that people don’t see.
“So you have to recover from that in order to go again, so that’s what the boys have been doing – it’s a three game week. We are experienced now with these three game weeks in the Championship.
“You have to be mentally and physically fresh for every game as a priority, not carrying any baggage, physically or mentally, because we have seen what happened with the last one we had, which was in November, forget the Christmas period. So we have only really been able to work today, a small period of time and we have maxed out.”