4 observations made as Luton Town play out goalless draw with Reading
Luton Town were unable to get back into the play-off positions last night, with the Hatters securing their eighth draw of the Championship campaign during a 0-0 against Reading.
Both teams created decent openings to secure all three points, but all things considered, a sharing of the points seemed the fairest outcome.
Here, are four observations made during last night’s goalless draw under the lights at Kenilworth Road…
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu
Forever a decisive figure within the Luton fanbase, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu had a good game in the holding role just in front of the defence.
With Henri Lansbury out after playing a vital role in recent weeks, there were a lot of eyes on the West Ham academy graduate, however, he made an important final step in his recovery, lasting the full 90 minutes.
Displaying some signs of rustiness, which is of course expected at this stage, it was largely a strong display from the 28-year-old.
Luton suffered two big blows to Sonny Bradley and Tom Lockyer yesterday, leaving the Hatters with a back three of James Bree, Dan Potts and Amari’i Bell.
Nathan Jones’ comments, as tweeted by Geoff Doyle, suggest that the injury to Bradley is not as bad as it first appeared, which is of course great news.
However, he will likely miss a run of games as a result, something that could pave the way for the Hatters to finalise a deal for Michael Hector.
Although the makeshift back three managed to ensure a clean sheet was kept, having three full-backs in a back three is not something that the Hatters will be wanting to rely upon.
Alfie Doughty brings bundles of energy, a direct attacking threat when running at players and grit out of possession that is all combining to increase his chances of seeing regular starting XI football at Kenilworth Road.
However, as Nathan Jones alluded to when he was first bought, and when he was missing out through injury during the start of the campaign, he has to be carefully managed.
He has picked up injuries quite often during the early years of his career thus far, and whilst his versatility is a real asset amidst continued adversity on the injury front, he also needs to be protected.
Still positioned well
Of course, the last three matches have not panned out the way Luton fans would have hoped, but ultimately, Luton remain in the hunt for a play-off spot.
Luton thrive as the underdogs, and with eyes elsewhere in the division, the Hatters can go about their business quietly and chip away at the top-six positions.
Possessing three good opportunities to stay in touch with the play-off positions ahead of the World Cup-enforced break, it will be interesting to see how the Hatters fare up in games against Blackpool, Stoke City and Rotherham United.