Aston Villa legend Dennis Mortimer was talking to the Football League Paper recently and he’s come up with an interesting name to throw into the mix when it comes to a potential new manager following Steve Bruce’s departure – Luton Town’s Nathan Jones.
— The Football League Paper (@TheLeaguePaper) October 6, 2018
For the more optimistic amongst us, I can absolutely see where Sir Den is coming from in this suggestion. Jones has learned the ropes coming up as a youth coach and from my memory, he made the step up at Brighton as a two-time caretaker manager whilst on the first team coaching staff.
He left for his chance at Luton back in 2016 and by rights, I’d say he hasn’t done too badly either.
His first year saw him move them away from the drop zone in League Two and his second year Luton lost out in the Play-Off spots whilst causing a fair few headlines in the revamped EFL Trophy as he/the club were fined for fielding too many youngsters in the competition and his complaints (he wasn’t alone) undoubtedly played a part in the EFL changing the rules – especially as they’d justified the inclusion of Premier League Under 23 sides on the basis of ‘developing youngsters’.
2017/18 saw promotion into League One and his style of play is not naive, it’s pragmatic but having seen Luton become the first EFL side in history to score seven or more goals on three occasions before the turn of the New Year, does imply he likes attack as the best form of defence – in the first half of the season they were outscoring Manchester City as well.
They are now sat in eighth place in the League One table, only two points off the Play-Off spots again.
Admittedly, a name like Jones carries the same concerns as Dean Smith as although the pedigree and style of play make them incredibly attractive options, the word ‘expectation’ looms large, but again I can see Mortimer’s line of thinking.
“People are pointing to what Dean Smith has done at Brentford, and he’s done very well, but there’s another guy on my radar who I know from being with him for over a year on coaching courses. It’s a lad called Nathan Jones. He’s at Luton. He was also with Chris Hughton at Brighton. Jones is good at pulling it all together, he does the analysis and he’s a good coach because he works with the players as individuals.”
I certainly don’t expect to see him in place come the end of the international break, but it’s a slightly more refreshing link than many we’ve seen this last week and a bit.
He’s probably also worth keeping an eye on for the future.