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Watch | Mick Harford's pre-Derby County press conference

The Assistant Manager briefed the press ahead of Friday's match...

31 March 2021

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Assistant Manager Mick Harford has revealed the squad are targeting as many points as they can during the last nine matches of the Sky Bet Championship campaign.

At this stage last season, the Hatters were fighting against relegation and relied on a superb run of form – losing just one of their last nine fixtures, amassing 16 points wich resulted in the Great Escape.

This time around, Nathan Jones’ side currently find themselves on 50 points but there are not about to show any signs of letting up.

“There has been a big improvement, especially in terms of the points. Defensively we have been really solid and sound. We don’t look like conceding goals at all. Certain individuals have come to the fore and performed really well. As a whole group I think we have improved immensely, and it has shown in the league position.

“We want to keep improving, we want to keep getting better and we want to keep testing ourselves. This game against Derby is a big test for us and that is what we look forward to.”

Unfortunately, one player who is likely to miss the trip to Pride Park is Tom Lockyer, who Mick revealed has suffered a setback following his injury.

“It is touch and go for the Easter period, but we’re really disappointed for Tom because we believe he is a big part of our squad and the Welsh squad. He has missed out on two or three games for the Welsh team, so we will monitor that one over the next few days.”

One player who has caught the eye in training, however, is youngster Dion Pereira. The 22-year-old joined the Hatters as a development squad player in November, having had a spell with Atlanta United in America and has been training with the first-team during the international break.

“It’s up to him now, we’ve given him the opportunity. We’ve set him some targets. Can he make the squad? Can he make the bench? Can he get minutes on the pitch? 

“So, we’ve set Dion targets and he’s responding to it and he’s done really well since coming into our group.

“Technically, he’s very, very good. He’s a young lad, who’s learning his way. He’s impressed all of us and hopefully he can kick on and make an impact in the squad.” 

And as is ever the case with the Championship, games are coming thick and fast once again following the conclusion of the international break – starting with Derby County on Friday and high-flying Barnsley on Monday.

"I think it came at a good time for us. We had a good win at Preston and the boys have been in training sporadically over the last 14 days. We had a couple of days off here and there but when they have been in, they have trained really hard. Nathan has been able to do some real good prep with them, getting them ready for Derby County and Barnsley. It has been really productive in terms of getting the team ready for the two games.”

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