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Luton Town coach Nathan Jones takes aim at a Premier League shot in a championship promotion run

Given that Luton Town was still an out-of-league club in 2014 and in League Two as recently as 2018, it would be foolish to put a ceiling on their ambition now.

The Hatters have swiftly made their way back through the divisions after plummeting in the NL amid financial turmoil 12 years ago and have no intention of slowing their upward trajectory.

Their manager Nathan Jones, who successfully re-established Luton as a championship club, is now aiming to make a giant leap into the Premier League.

The ambitious Luton Town coach Nathan Jones sees no reason why the Hatters can't make history and win promotion to the Premier League in the middle of an open championship campaign.

The ambitious Luton Town coach Nathan Jones sees no reason why the Hatters can’t make history and win promotion to the Premier League in the middle of an open championship campaign.

The Hatters are inside the shooting range of the Play-offs and aim for the Premier League

The Hatters are inside the shooting range of the Play-offs and aim for the Premier League

The Hatters are inside the shooting range of the Play-offs and aim for the Premier League

And if that seemed like a fantasy just a few years ago, the prospect of Luton reaching the play-offs amid what is shaping up to be a fight between a dozen or more championship clubs becomes more plausible with each passing week. .

Matches like Friday night’s televised visit to Queens Park Rangers, another team hoping to be in the promotion mix in May, are the perfect measure of how far Luton has come.

‘We are very proud of how we compete at this level. We always knew we were going to get to this level relatively quickly, ‘says Jones. Sportsmail.

“We said four years but we did it in three. We have been able to maintain and establish [in the Championship] but now we really want to challenge for certain things.

‘A lot of people would look and say that’s unrealistic given that we have a good budget, but we don’t trust the budget. We trust the work, the hiring and the process of what we do here.

“If we can sell that and the players buy it, then we will be able to compete with people with greater resources.”

Luton top scorer Elijah Adebayo celebrates goal in recent win over Middlesbrough

Luton top scorer Elijah Adebayo celebrates goal in recent win over Middlesbrough

Luton top scorer Elijah Adebayo celebrates goal in recent win over Middlesbrough

A packed crowd on Kenilworth Road welcomes Luton and Stoke to the countryside this month

A packed crowd on Kenilworth Road welcomes Luton and Stoke to the countryside this month

A packed crowd on Kenilworth Road welcomes Luton and Stoke to the countryside this month

Brief observation

QUEENS PARK RANGERS vs LUTON TOWN

EFL Championship; Friday 7:45 p.m.

Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

The last time QPR played in the Premier League, Luton had just won promotion to the National League, so occasions like Friday night are a reminder to Jones of how far they have come.

The 48-year-old Welsh manager achieved promotion to League One in 2017-18, but then left Luton for Stoke City midway through another promotion campaign in 2018-19.

When he returned nearly 18 months later, Jones saved the club from relegation from the Championship and then led it to a comfortable mid-table finish, 12th last season.

His 62-point score was Luton’s highest at the second level since 1981-82.

“This is the kind of game we want to compete in,” he says of the prospect of facing a QPR team that is also expected to boost promotion this season.

‘Without being disrespectful, not many years ago at this time of year we were going to Forest Green.

‘Now we go to QPR with a huge crowd, playing live at Sky on Loftus Road alongside them. This was a cup game three years ago and now it is not.

“We are competing on a level playing field and that is something we are very proud of.”

It was in 2014 that Luton finally ended five seasons in the National League with a title win.

It was in 2014 that Luton finally ended five seasons in the National League with a title win.

It was in 2014 that Luton finally ended five seasons in the National League with a title win.

They secured back-to-back promotions in 2019 by winning the League One championship.

They secured back-to-back promotions in 2019 by winning the League One championship.

They secured back-to-back promotions in 2019 by winning the League One championship.

The Hatters are still looking for that elusive consistency this season, but they have a history of beating Championship teams with resources far greater than their own.

“If you compare the budgets, we have to bleed our noses with almost everyone we face,” Jones said.

But we don’t see it that way, we don’t insist on the size of our budget. That has never been the case.

“We have always believed in our work and in our hiring beyond our ability to pay certain salaries. As long as it continues like this, we can compete at this level.

“How many of us are going to be able to punch in the nose and hurt, that depends on our work, the adaptation of the players, luck and the will of God in the day.”

Welsh boss Jones sees no reason why Luton can't continue his climb up the divisions

Welsh boss Jones sees no reason why Luton can't continue his climb up the divisions

Welsh boss Jones sees no reason why Luton can’t continue his climb up the divisions

Currently only 10 points separate West Bromwich Albion in third place and Birmingham in 15 as the Championship resumes after the last international break of the year.

Luton comes into Friday’s game amid this tight collection of teams ranking 11th but can jump QPR to sixth with a win.

Not that Jones is getting too carried away even though the league is wide open.

“We are reasonably happy without being ecstatic in any way,” he said. ‘Our numbers support the fact that we should be in the top six, actually, in terms of xG, etc.

“We know there is a good team in there, but in key games we have not been clinical enough. When we have had the opportunity to start, we simply have not taken advantage of it.

‘Against Bournemouth [a 2-1 defeat]They were excellent for 20 minutes, they missed a glorious opportunity and we’re two down five minutes later.

Sonny Bradley jumps unmarked to open the scoring for Luton in their win over Middlesbrough

Sonny Bradley jumps unmarked to open the scoring for Luton in their win over Middlesbrough

Sonny Bradley jumps unmarked to open the scoring for Luton in their win over Middlesbrough

Top scorer Adebayo shoots Luton's second goal at home in 3-1 win over Teessiders

Top scorer Adebayo shoots Luton's second goal at home in 3-1 win over Teessiders

Top scorer Adebayo shoots Luton’s second goal at home in 3-1 win over Teessiders

“We came back and we were excellent against them in the second half, but we were chasing the game and we’ve had a game or two like that.

‘We were three up at halftime against Swansea and causing, we had a chance to make four or five, but we didn’t and we lost points. [in a 3-3 draw].

“Last time, we had more possession, more chances, more crosses, more corners than Stoke and they only had one quality moment or one of us and that was the difference.

‘In those games, if we can strengthen ourselves and be more clinical, we will be in a wonderful position. Anyway, we’re only three points behind sixth, but we should be up there now. ‘

But no one should have any doubts about his ambition to live up to the end of the season.

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