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Interviews

GRAEME JONES ON CHOOSING COLLO AS CAPTAIN

28 February 2020

Hatters boss Graeme Jones said in his press conference at the Brache earlier on today that he selected James Collins as captain in the absence of the injured Sonny Bradley due to the striker being a ‘talisman’ for the club.

Bradley hasn’t been involved since the Middlesbrough game, with former Crawley Town man Collins wearing the armband the past couple of weeks.

Jones explained he has many options to choose from for the captaincy, but believes Collins is the perfect role model.

He said: “He’s an international, he has got great history with the club, he’s a bit of a talisman here. He’s the top goalscorer, a wonderful character and if we’re talking about being professional – he’s an outstanding professional.

"He’s as robust as they come, mentally, physically, committed, he’s a leader by example as well. It could have been Matty Pearson, it could have been Glen Rea, but Glen was just coming back from injury, I wanted him to concentrate on his performance rather than other people’s. But James has been very consistent the whole season.”

Sonny’s spell on the side-lines has seen Tottenham Hotspur loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers partner Matty Pearson at the heart of defence, with the gaffer believing their partnership is developing nicely.

Jones continued: “I am pleased – really happy [with Matty and Cameron]. I thought they were excellent on Tuesday night and that’s something [the partnership] that’s growing.

“But we can’t forget that the skipper had two clean sheets against Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, but obviously he has missed out due to injury and the two boys are in pole position at the minute and they have done really well. That partnership was solid against Charlton, they got better, with a bigger challenge against Brentford on Tuesday night, so it’s pleasing that we’re in a reasonably strong situation.”

Town now find themselves within four points of safety, having won four of their past seven games.

After a difficult Christmas and New Year period, Jones reflected on how his players have stepped up to the challenge of the Championship – something he believes you have to earn.

“Well you have to earn that (being a Championship player) and that’s the position we’re in because the process has taken us to this point,” the manager said. “I would have loved to have learned earlier, a lot of our lads I would have loved for them to learn earlier but I’m sure they don’t want to drop Championship status and that’s the biggest motivation.

“We have to earn the right, we have to earn that in the next 11 games, there is no messing about, we have to be ruthless and make sure we look after ourselves.

“We couldn’t do it two months ago, we really couldn’t so that’s how far other players have come, that’s where it is satisfying for me because no football club should rely on one or two individuals. I think Hull have suffered since losing Grosicki and Bowen for example and we need to have a wider spectrum than that.

“We need to have answers against different teams and different tactical opponents and strategies that are put against us. The other night was a real example of us finding a way to win with a group of players that were available and put in a really, really strong team performance.”


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