Jones says confident Hatters ready to do battle with the ‘different level’ Blades
It’s top versus 18th as leaders Blades come to town, but there are only five points between the sides in the embryonic league table, and when it comes to matches played in 2022, the pair are top of the pile.
“Someone sent me something last night actually,” said Jones in Thursday’s media conference ahead of Friday’s game.
“It’s the top two point gainers in 2022, and Sheffield United are top and we’re two points behind them.
“We’d probably be top if we just started (this season) a little bit better.
“If we beat Birmingham for example (on the opening day), we’re the top points earner in the Championship in 2022, so we’re both in a good place.”
Both teams may well be in a good place, with Luton boosted by their first win of the season at Swansea City last Saturday, but Jones believes Sheffield United are at ‘a different level financially’ from Luton, and he also thinks Paul Heckingbottom’s team are the strongest in the Championship.
“Sheffield United were in the Championship for a number of years and a good Championship side under Chris Wilder,” said Jones, who guided the Hatters to the play-off semi-finals last season.
“Then they got up, had a couple of years in the Premier League and were able to strengthen and invest more.
“They’ve had one year as a Championship club and were again able to invest and do more, so they are a different level financially from us.”
And he added: “It’s a real tough game as for me, they are arguably the best side in the league with the best squad and at the minute, they are top of the league so they are in a wonderful position.
“It will be a tough game but with the greatest of respect, these are the games we love.”
Squad-wise, Jones is expecting a couple of his walking wounded to be available for selection for the match, that is being shown live on Sky Sports.
“We’ve had a good week,” said Jones. “The squad will be slightly different to what it was a week ago and that is a work in progress.
“Hopefully, providing we don’t have anything else, we should have pretty much everyone back in the next week or two.”
On the players with injury issues, he added: “We have been hurt, when you look at the likes of Harry Cornick, Luke Berry, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Alfie Doughty and Fred Onyedinma.
“Henri Lansbury has not really played, and there are some big players there that will add to us.
“We do have a strong squad, that’s why we have the depth we have and it wouldn’t be any kind of concern if we had picked up the points we deserve.
“But when we haven’t done that in the first few games, it highlights that a little bit more but we’re in a decent place.
“We know we have some tough games coming up but we’re in a decent place squad wise and getting people back now which is a real bonus.”