Manager Nathan Jones admitted it will be great to see a full Kenilworth Road once again tomorrow afternoon for the Hatters’ season opener against Peterborough United.
It is well known that supporters have been absent from their second home since March 2020 and now for the first time, the Hatters will walk out in front of a sold-out crowd once again.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said the gaffer during his pre-match press conference. “We’ve missed the fans, I’ve missed the fans, we’ve missed that atmosphere as it’s such a great place. The acoustics, the ground, everything about it is fantastic, and what we have to do is make sure it’s not just at five to three, it’s a three, five past, 10 past, 15 minutes past and right the way through to five to five, that’s the type of performance we’ve got to put in.”
Continuing, Jones admitted: “The players need our fans, and we know when it is a full house at the Kenny, it is intimidating, it is inspiring, uplifting and we need them tomorrow.
“It is going to be a tough game, strange game as well because of a lot of things. First game back from the pandemic, obviously it is my first game back with a full house so what we don’t want is a strange atmosphere, we want a positive atmosphere and hopefully we can give them a positive performance that will turn into a positive result.”
The cohort of players hoping to produce a positive performance has changed over the summer with eight new arrivals, so too has the dynamic within the squad.
“We wanted to be a bit more front footed, and we wanted to add athleticism. Six months ago we earmarked pace, power, a bit more athleticism, coupled with quality and we managed to achieve that.
“We lost real stalwarts to the club, we've got to make sure we replaced that in the environment and on the pitch, and then we’ve added an attacking prowess. Coupled with what we had in the building, what we’ve added, we feel we have goals in us.”
Jones was able to confirm that he will be without Dan Potts for the Peterborough game after he sustained an injury in the final pre-season friendly versus Brighton and Hove Albion.
“It is a problem with his hamstring which wasn’t serious, but it’s not one that we’d risk for tomorrow. We have got really, really good options in that position on the left side, with Kal (Naismith), Amari’i (Bell) and so on. Depending on the shape we play, even people like Fred Onyedinma played the majority of last season at left wingback, so we’ve always got those options to do that.”
Additionally on Amari’i Bell, who recently returned from international duty, the gaffer said: “He had a week with us before and then went away to the Gold Cup, played and trained every day, so he’s had his own pre-season away from us then he came back with us for 10 days now, so he’s match fit, he’s played plenty of games, he’s a wonderful athlete and if he’s needed tomorrow then he’s ready.”