Boss Jones challenges Hatters to match last season's performance

Luton Town boss Nathan Jones is aiming high this seasonLuton Town boss Nathan Jones is aiming high this season
Luton Town boss Nathan Jones is aiming high this season
Nathan Jones has set his Luton Town team the target of matching last season's sixth-placed finish in the Sky Bet Championship.

But he admits he would love the team to go finish even higher if possible.

The Hatters exceeded expectations last season as they claimed a place in the play-offs, before losing out to Huddersfield Town in the semi-finals.

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That was a big improvement on the 2020-21 campaign that saw Luton finish in 12th place, while 12 months earlier they ended up just above the relegation zone in 19th.

It has been something of a meteoric rise for a club that was in the National League as recently as 2014, and although Jones is keen for that progression to continue, he knows there also has to be some realism.

"When you set high bars you have to maintain and clear them," said Jones, ahead of Saturday's opening match of the new season against Birmingham City. "That is what we do, that is the ultimate goal.

"We know it is always going to be difficult and we have to be realistic, we’re not suddenly going to have a meteoric rise from 12th to sixth to first, let's be realistic.

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"We will strive for that but whether that is achievable in the short term is another thing.

"We want progression, we had our goal-setting meeting this morning and we have to try and at least equal what we did last year and then try and go one better."

The Hatters begin the new campaign on home soil as they host the Blues at Kenilworth Road.

The match comes just 10 weeks after that play-off loss to Huddersfield, and although Jones accepts is has been a swift turnaround, he insists he and the players are ready."The start of the season is always exciting," said Jones.

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"There are expectations, aspirations and all those things but we’ve come around really quickly.

"It seems like a whirlwind since the final game at Huddersfield on May 16. It has come around really quickly but we’re ready to go."