The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Char­lie Ben­nett

NATHAN Jones be­lieves he is fac­ing the big­gest chal­lenge of his man­age­rial ca­reer as he at­tempts to ar­rest Luton’s alarm­ing slump.

A run of just one win in eight games, prior to yes­ter­day’s clash with Black­pool, has the Hat­ters look­ing over their shoul­der – with their pre­vi­ously safe play-off spot now un­der se­ri­ous threat.

The Hat­ters have what seems a kind set of fix­tures on the hori­zon, with ail­ing Ley­ton Ori­ent and mid-ta­ble Bar­net still to come, but Jones is not shy­ing away from the task he has in front of him.

“This is a test for me as a man­ager, but I love my job and I love the chal­lenge. That’s why I wanted to be a man­ager,” he said.

“You want that pres­sure – and we do have it at a club like this – but I’m well-equipped to cope. We will come through it and, when we do, we’ll be a stronger group for it.

“Last year, when they were tested they didn’t come through it.

“This year we have to show we are a more solid and stern group.”

De­spite their woe­ful spell of form, Jones re­mains con­vinced the Hat­ters can turn it around and still guar­an­tee a play­off place – even if au­to­matic pro­mo­tion looks un­likely.

“We wanted to go up au­to­matic, but we have to be re­al­is­tic now,” he added. “It’s still a great po­si­tion to be in, though.

“The min­i­mum re­quire­ment is to go up through the play-offs, and we’re on track for that.

“It’s shoot-out time now. No­body can slip up, if you like. It’s just fine mar­gins.

“We’re not a mil­lion miles away from where we were if we had taken the chances.

“We need to keep more clean sheets and add a clin­i­cal edge.

“We’re still in a good place, and we can’t throw it away now.”

UPBEAT: Nathan Jones

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