Hatters boss Nathan Jones is pleased to have an almost fully fit squad to choose from as the Town return to Sky Bet Championship action this weekend following last week's impressive performance, but gallant defeat away to Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round.
After suffering a hamstring strain during training on Christmas Day that led to him missing the league matches at Reading and at home to his former club Bristol City, Joe Morrell (pictured below) returned for the Cup third round win over the Royals on January 9th but has been sidelined since by a heel injury.
The Wales international midfielder, along with the versatile Martin Cranie, has been back in training this week to give the manager extra options ahead of the trip to Blackburn.
“We've got Joe Morrell coming back," said Jones. "Joe has had an injection in his heel which made him miss a bit of game time, and it’s been unfortunate for Joe as just when he comes close to getting a run, he picks up some little thing which we have to pull him out.
"So it's been a frustrating time for him, but apart from him, Martin Cranie is back in training, so we’re in a decent place."
After a run of matches in which his side have won 1-0 at Bournemouth and lost by the same score at another promotion chasing team in Brentford before the 3-1 reversal at Stamford Bridge, Jones is relishing the return to league action at Ewood Park, where the tenth-placed hosts will kick-off just three places and three points above the Hatters.
“We’ve had as tough a run of fixtures as you can have, but that’s why we want to be in the league, that’s why we want to test ourselves and they don’t get any easier," said Jones, "but in Championship football, there are no easy games.
"Whether it’s Bournemouth away, whether it's Blackburn away, whether it’s Huddersfield at home, they're all very, very tough games.
“We’ve just got back to basics and have been working towards Blackburn. It was a great game to prepare for, and a good game to be involved in.
"Certain things we would have liked to have changed, not everything on our part, but we’ve shown that we’re developing. We went toe-to-toe with a top four Champions League side, so it shows that we are evolving and we are getting better and that’s the pleasing thing.
"We don’t judge ourselves by Chelsea standards at this point, but it was just a wonderful game, so that should stand us in good stead for what’s coming up."
The Welshman also spoke about first-year scholar Ed McJannet signing his first professional contract earlier this week on his 17th birthday (pictured below).
Asked about the decision to reward the attacking midfielder with a contract, Jones said: "We’ve kept an eye on him in development games and Under-18 games and he’s done very well, we’re very pleased with him.
"What we are doing at the minute is building a nice little group in that development area. They had a fantastic win the other day against Stevenage and we watched the game. When you start a 23 group, it’s difficult – and Adrian Forbes has done fantastically well in terms of being able to cope with the group, because sometimes you’re a little bit depleted, sometimes you’re doing 3 v 3s and things like that.
"But now there is a settled group developing there, and that’s key because it’s the bridge from academy to first team, and it means that we’ll be able to take our time on players. We’ll be able to give them a little bit more development time, and hopefully they’ll turn into first team players.
"Ed is one of those who has shown real good promise in his early academy days and we feel is one that will benefit from the contract and the push, so we are very pleased with him."