How Will Luton Town Fare In The Championship?6 min read
Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton Athletic were all promoted from League One last season. We look at how Luton did it, what they will bring to the Championship and how they can strengthen over the summer.
The 2018-19 story…
After comfortably securing automatic promotion from League Two last season, Luton Town continued that momentum early on with the same attacking football.
Once they started getting the results they deserved away from home, they clicked into gear and looked a genuine automatic promotion contender in December.
Manager Nathan Jones then left for Stoke in a manner that not too many Hatters fans were especially happy with; the Welshman’s decision threatened to destabilise their campaign at a crucial point.
Step forward Mick Harford.
The Luton legend took the reigns and carried on from the template Jones had left, as the Bedfordshire outfit secured promotion in late April then won the title thanks to a final day win over Oxford.
Although Jones had laid the groundwork for that title win over his two years in charge, it was in some ways fitting that Harford lifted the trophy as manager, before stepping upstairs once again.
He had been forced into the position of taking Luton out of the Football League in 2009, after they had been docked 30 points by the FA, so their campaign ended with a sense of romantic justice.
Placing Mick Harford in charge once Nathan Jones left in January was the ‘perfect appointment’ according to Town club captain Alan Sheehan.
— Oh When The Town Podcast (@OhWhenTheTown) May 13, 2019
What they’ll bring…
Luton’s diamond system has worked a treat in League One and League Two.
Glen Rea will provide aggression and leadership at the base of the midfield quartet, with three others given freedom to rotate and interchange with real quality.
Andrew Shinnie, in particular, is more than good enough for the second-tier, having performed to a reasonable standard at that level with Birmingham.
New head coach Graeme Jones has spoken of the need to be slightly more pragmatic at a higher level, so we can expect one or two conservative tweaks.
He’ll be wise though not to fiddle with the principles on which back-to-back promotions have been built.
There is scope for Luton to upgrade in the goalkeeper position.
James Shea has not done badly as such but in a higher division, it might help to have somebody who can save them points when the champagne football does not flow.
Strikers Danny Hylton and James Collins have historically been League Two goalscoring specialists, so perhaps they have been helped by playing in a side that creates a high volume of clear-cut chances.
Given Hylton’s injury issues over the last 18 months, Luton could do with another poacher – maybe Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien – more established in the upper echelons of the EFL.
Attacking full-backs Jack Stacey and James Justin were crucial for the Hatters last season in terms of providing width; keeping them could be easier said than done.
Dan Potts is a ready-made replacement for Justin, but another right-back would be needed if Stacey were to depart.
Luton Town Odds:
To Be Relegated
To Be Promoted