Nathan Jones begins his second spell as Luton Town boss with the Hatters returning to Kenilworth Road for the visit of sixth-place Preston North End.
The Town last competed in a league match on March 7th – earning a point away at Wigan Athletic – before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to the football calendar.
Despite suffering three successive defeats before football was suspended, Preston make the trip to Bedfordshire occupying the final play-off spot.
The Hatters on the other hand recorded 11 points from their previous six matches, form they hope to recapture in a bid to move to within three points of safety.
Nathan Jones said:
(Please note – quotes are taken from Nathan’s press conference on Thursday afternoon, which you can watch for FREE here)
On Preston North End: “Preston are a good side. Without being disrespectful, I think the biggest respect I can give them is they haven’t got superstars, they are just a real good hard-working group that are talented and know how to win games.
“They are a good group, I watched them, they beat my Stoke side from just doing the basics right and to be fair, they are a very good side to play against because very rarely do you catch them on an ‘off day’ because they’re consistent in what they do. Yes, they can lose games, but I watch games that they’ve lost and they are right at it, so it will be a tough game, it really will.”
On returning to the dugout: “It has been a few months before anyone has actually managed out there but for me, obviously since November. I’ve had a sabbatical, if you like, but I’m motivated, rested, all those things that managers say when they’ve been out of work and had time to reflect, and I have reflected.
“I’ve worked quite hard since I’ve been out of work ironically. I was always working to come back into the Championship so I watched tens of Championship games and players and systems, so when I came back in, I would be ready quick. Preston are a side I have watched many times, they’re local to me where I live so I was able to do that. I’m ready, I’m re-energised and re-motivated to try and do the best I can."
On the importance of hitting the ground running: “We’d like to but you just never know. If someone said to me, right you can have this amount of wins but you’ve got to lose that, then you'd do that. What I’m saying is, we would like to hit the ground running, like Preston will be, like Alex Neil will be, so will a lot of sides. It’s just we’re going into the unknown a little bit.
“As much as we go into the unknown, we want to be able to control what we can and if we play like we can and we work as hard as we can, then we will give ourselves a chance as we’ve always been a good side, especially at home.”
Founded in 1880, Preston North End have plenty of honours to their name including winning the FA Cup twice in 1889 and 1938.
The Lilywhites have won Division Three twice in their history and Division Two four times. They were promoted via the play-offs in 2015 and have been in the Championship ever since.
When and where?
Kick-off is 3pm on Saturday 20th June at Kenilworth Road.
Man in the middle?
The referee for tomorrow’s game is John Brooks, who has taken charge of 26 games this season, producing 92 yellow cards and one red card.
The two sides last met in December and Preston were 2-1 victors. Overall, the Lilywhites have the better head-to-head record with 25 wins, compared with Luton’s 11. There has also been nine draws shared between the two teams.
Follow the action
All season ticket holders who opted to donate their refunds back to the club qualified to receive an iFollow code which will provide access to the remaining nine games of the 2019-20 season.
Codes have been distributed via email, however, should you run into any issues please take a moment to read the FAQ’s – available here.
If you are not a season ticket or match ticket holder but you wish to purchase a match pass to watch today's game against Preston on iFollow Hatters, they are now available for £10 by clicking here.