Nathan Jones’ Luton Town redemption is the Championship’s silent story of the season
Luton Town scored three second-half goals to come from behind and beat Bristol City 3-2 in the Championship this afternoon – a win which brings them up to 11th.
Luton Town fans might’ve come across a FourFourTwo article at the start of the season which predicted the forthcoming 2020/21 Championship campaign.
Nathan Jones on his return to Kenilworth Road was predicted to achieve a 20th-place finish after the club’s narrow escape from relegation last time round, and Jones’ poor showing at Stoke City.
But with three games of their season remaining (one in hand on most in the league) Luton Town have the chance to finish as high as 7th in the Championship if they can win their remaining three games.
Never gonna give you up
Goals from James Collins, Elijah Adebayo and Harry Cornick secured an impressive win at Ashton Gate earlier this afternoon, summarising a Luton Town team steeped in belief and fight.
That’s what they were missing last season, and that’s what Jones has brought back to the club. His side have gone about this term quietly having never really looked in danger but never really challenging the top-six – and have done so with one of the Championship’s tightest budgets.
It’s a stark contrast to his Stoke tenure in which he would’ve had some of the league’s healthiest funds to dip into, but what Luton have now, money can’t buy.
Underrated, under-talked about
Jones returned to the club in May last year. Graeme Jones had stepped down supposedly to save funding during the pandemic, and Luton turned to Jones after his sacking in the November before – 14 games into his Stoke tenure.
He realised the detriment he did to the club and made his apologies sincere. Luton went into the break in the last season in 23rd-place of the Championship table and with a six-point gap to safety – Jones would pick up 15 points from the remaining nine games of the campaign to seal a 19th-place finish.
Luton Town could now achieve their best league finish since finishing 10th in the 2005/06 Championship table. It’d be a fitting end to what’s been a widely underrated and under-talked about season for Luton Town, and the job that Jones has done on his return Kenilworth Road should be hailed among the likes of Daniel Farke, Xisco Munoz, Valerien Ismael this season.
The club now has a stable platform to build upon – promotion won’t be achieved over night for Luton and it remains a long-term dream given the budget they’re on. But Jones’ prior actions become more of a distant memory with each passing fixture – he’s certainly redeemed himself this season and if he can pull off some more keen recruitment in the summer, there’s every chance that they’ll progress even further next time round.