League One Gameweek 16: Hatters to Fire at Kingsmeadow5 min read
Luton Town looked hugely impressive in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Accrington Stanley.
There were question marks about how the introduction of Danny Hylton – a long-term absentee until a week ago – would impact a team that had been playing well with Harry Cornick as an auxiliary second striker.
In fact, having two out-and-out goalscorers up top in Hylton and James Collins has given Luton a cutting edge, with six goals in two.
Although they showed in League Two last season that they can execute possession football very well under a progressive head coach in Nathan Jones, their midweek display showed that they can also be ruthless when gaps appear in transition.
Andrew Shinnie, who won Scottish Young Player of the Year with Inverness in 2012-13 and has performed well in spells at Birmingham, is enjoying a resurgence at Kenilworth Road; his aggressive closing down and incisive through balls made him a stand-out performer against Stanley.
The midfield also contains direct runner Pelly Ruddock M’Panzu and technician Jorge Grant as Glen Rea holds the forte, while the right-footed James Justin has performed even better than expected in an unfamiliar left-back role in the absence of Dan Potts.
JJ…or Cafu? pic.twitter.com/Cb8XfsBPjX
— Oli Walker (@olivermpw_) October 24, 2018
AFC Wimbledon in Relegation Battle
Overall, the Hatters could ask serious questions of an AFC Wimbledon side in a painful predicament.
Manager Neal Ardley is a very influential figure at the club: he played for the original Wimbledon for 11 years and has already managed AFCW for six, having overseen some wonderful achievements including the inspirational promotion from League Two in 2015-16.
However, it cannot be ignored that the Wombles are currently in a relegation battle, that they are League One’s lowest goalscorers with 10 in 15, nor that they have won just six of their last 33 encounters.
Ironically, Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at Bristol Rovers was reportedly one of the better performances, yet they mustered just one shot on target and Ardley, so passionate about his club, was in tears at full-time.
The emotional connection between Ardley and Wimbledon has often been an advantage but perhaps it could now almost become a hindrance.
Sections of the hierarchy and fanbase are, understandably, wishing that he will be the man to lead the club back to Plough Lane – which they see as their spiritual home – in 2019-20.
That sentimentality though could potentially get in the way of the club making a sensible, practical business decision that will help them better compete at this level.
With the club divided over Ardley, it is possible that Luton could profit from the disorder with incisive final third interplay and we’re backing a goal glut for the Bedfordshire boys, who have won a match featuring four or more goals on three occasions this term.
Luton and Over 3.5 goals –
Read Gabriel Sutton’s Championship gameweek 15 betting preview here!