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Watch | Nathan Jones' pre-Blackburn press conference

Listen to what the gaffer had to say ahead of Saturday's match...

19 November 2020

Manager Nathan Jones has a fully fit squad to choose from in preparation for Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn Rovers.

Following the two-week international break in which five Hatters featured for their countries, the gaffer and his coaching staff have been working hard behind the scenes with the rest of the squad in preparation for a tricky winter period.

During his pre-match press conference this lunchtime, Jones revealed that after missing every game this season through injury, Dan Potts will now be available for selection starting this weekend.  

“Finally, we’ve got the all-clear with him, it’s been a long process and frustrating for him, but we’ve managed to get a point where it’s thumbs up. We are glad as he’s done well for us Dan, it’s good to be able to welcome him back into the group.”

Further to Potts returning to the squad, highly-rated former Reading defender Gabriel Osho joined the club this week, adding even more depth to an already strong squad.

“He’s got a decent pedigree, comes from Reading, we knew that he was getting offered a deal at Reading, but he didn't see a pathway there," said Jones.

“So we just saw an opportunity to bring in a young, athletic, hungry player, it had to be the right decision for us, because obviously where he plays, centre half, right back, we are covered in that area as it is, so we didn't want to curtail anyone.

“As soon as we saw that we had an opportunity to loan Peter Kioso out and further his development, we then were able to fill the void by bringing Gabi in.”

Nathan was also pleased with the involvement of his players during the international break – including James Collins and Simon Sluga - who earned additional caps for Ireland and Croatia respectively.

“They have all gone away and got minutes," he added. "Tom Lockyer played 90 against USA, Rhys and Joe played two games and then James has got another start and so has Slugs. It has been a productive one, Rhys is probably the only one that didn’t need minutes but we’re glad that everyone has gone.

“Rhys comes back in good form, played very well in both games, I thought he was excellent against Finland. We’re in a good place and the ones that have been here as well, some got minutes, Sam Nombe, James Bree and James Shea all got minutes (in the development squad friendly) at Birmingham so we are in a better place.”

News also broke this week that five substitutes would be allowed in Sky Bet Championship matches once again and the gaffer was very pleased to see that added into the game. 

"I always wanted to play games, some years you played 60 games, and never moaned about it, but nowadays, it has to be sensible in terms of what we do. To play them over such a quick period of time is really stressing them physically, travelling, the level, so it’s just a sensible thing to do.

"I don't think it gives anyone a massive edge over others as if you've got a strong squad, you've got a strong squad, regardless, if you've got a stronger squad then your 11 is going to be invariably stronger anyway.

"It's about the longevity, keeping as many players as you can fit over a period of time and then it makes the competition authentic and that was my problem.

"I think sense has prevailed, I don't think it gives too many an edge over other people as everyone will be able to freshen up their squad, make changes, be able to keep even more people happy so I think it’s a sensible decision."

In addition to the additional substitute ruling, Nathan described his overall feeling as being 'utopias' after he recently moved back into the area with his family.

"Not much makes my life easier but this week it has been. I've managed to move back into the area and nine subs, so at the minute, we are utopias!"

You can listen to Nathan's full interview via iFollow Hatters at the top of the page...


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