Onyedinma wants Luton to shore up defensively and get back to winning ways after scoring first
Town attacker Fred Onyedinma has urged his side to get back to last season’s miserly ways when scoring the first goal more often that not ensured the Hatters would emerge triumphant.
In a campaign in which the Luton reached the Championship play-offs, they managed to break the deadlock on 23 occasions, which led to 20 wins, two draws and just the one defeat.
This season, they had had led in six of their nine games, including the last five outings, but only won twice, that at Swansea and Cardiff, drawing with Burnley, Sheffield United and Coventry, also losing to Wigan.
An inability to shut up shop defensively has led to just two clean sheets so far, which has severely hampered Luton’s efforts to climb the table, sitting in 18th place ahead of today’s match with Blackburn Rovers.
It’s something that has to change according to Onyedinma, who said: “Last season we were based on keeping clean sheets and you know how it was last season, if we score first, we’re probably going to end up winning the game.
“Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened this season, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the games to come.
“We’ve just got to get things right at the back, and I know there’s more to come from us.”
The issues with holding on to a lead has been the main reason that Luton are still hunting for a first win at Kenilworth Road this term, taking just three points from a possible 15.
With Luton now seven without a victory on home soil, if you include last season’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield in the play-off semi-final, they are getting close to an unwanted record of 10 home matches without a win, that happening three times in their history, the most recent being in the 1992-93 campaign.
Despite their struggles so far, Onyedinma doesn’t think it is becoming an issue for the players, as he continued: “No, I feel like, as a team we know what we’re capable of.
“We know how good we are, especially at home, especially from last season, you can see.
“So we can’t focus on that too much, we just have to focus on still being good, even if it’s away and we know that win’s going to come.
“Hopefully when it comes, we can keep pushing on.
“We’ve just got to put that right, Blackburn are a good team, but if you look at the squad we’ve got, we’ve got depth as well, so that will be an interesting game.”
Luton might be without Harry Cornick and Reece Burke for the clash this afternoon, Cornick going off at half time against Coventry on Wednesday night with a tight hamstring and Burke suffering a rib injury in training, which left him struggling to breathe.
They are also yet to see either Alfie Doughty or Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu this term either, but Onyedinma, who himself was starting a first game of the season in midweek, doesn’t want any excuses, saying: “The players that are still injured are an important part of our team, but I feel like we can’t just rely on players coming back.
“We’ve got a good team, even if some players are injured, we’ve got a good squad.
“That’s football, sometime things like that happen, we can’t just feel sorry for ourselves, we have to do the best we can.
“I feel like we’ve got the squad and unfortunately we haven’t had the best of results, but I know once it clicks we can push on.”
Back in the side again, Onyedinma had named in the role of left wingback for Wednesday night’s contest, replacing Amari’i Bell who dropped to the bench.
On the decision, boss Nathan Jones added: “(James) Bree’s given us wonderful outcomes on the one side and we just wanted a little bit more.
“Amari’s wonderful defensively, but we just felt we needed a little bit more impetus on that side and rightly or wrongly, that’s what we did.”