The Hatters missed out on the chance to secure their place in the play-offs last weekend as they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw against Blackpool on Saturday afternoon – but are still firm favourites to be in the top six with just two league games to go and Jones’ men having a six-point cushion.
This is an impressive achievement by the Bedfordshire outfit whose squad cost £3.4m in total, the second-lowest total in the second tier behind recently promoted Blackpool, spending just under £230m less than Fulham who only sit four places above them in the English football pyramid currently.
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Managing to recruit well on a tight budget, they have forked out transfer fees on four players this season but have also managed to snap up the likes of Reece Burke, Cameron Jerome and Robert Snodgrass for free.
And with Joe Morrell and Simon Sluga’s sales, their net spend has been kept to a minimum once again during the 2021/22 campaign, a real achievement considering where they are in the table.
Jones believes their recruitment strategy has been key to their success, rising from League Two to the second-tier play-offs in the space of just four years.
He said: “It’s evolution really – we’ve been on a journey. This year we wanted to really challenge – we believed it, we recruited that way.
“Recruitment is everything because no matter how good a manager or coach or CEO you are, if you get that wrong you are done.
“And we’ve got recruitment right – that’s probably been the secret.”
Many clubs in the past have benefitted from spending conservatively and the Hatters have managed to be successful too, with their recruitment decisions enabling them to spend more whilst also comfortably remaining within the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules.
This low spending on their squad must have also helped during the Covid-19 pandemic when the financial effects of lockdown restrictions really started to bite, so they should look to carry on with a similar strategy for as long as it continues to remain successful.
Having an effective scouting network will help with that and although some supporters of other clubs across the EFL may want to see their side splash the cash, stability is the most important thing for a side that have had off-field issues in the past.
They will now be focusing on recruiting more gems and tying their existing key men down to new deals to ensure they either retain their biggest stars or generate as much revenue as they can from their potential sales.
Some of these funds can then be reinvested, allowing Luton to stay competitive and this is why the Hatters aren’t likely to drop off the radar anytime soon because they have the plan in place to be successful for the long term.