Category Archives: Luton Town

Wigan 8-0 Hull- What are the repercussions for both sides and the other teams involved in the battle to avoid the drop?

Wigan recorded their biggest ever league victory on Tuesday night as they dismantled a sorry Hull side to move 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Paul Cook’s side were 7-0 up at half time, thanks to strikes from Naismith, Lowe and Williams, as well as doubles from Moore and Dowell, as Hull capitulated.

Dowell completed his hat-trick in the second half as the Latics recorded their eighth victory in their last eleven games, a run which has included 10 clean sheets.

This is a mightily impressive run of form when you factor in that they have a 12 point deduction looming, after the club were placed into administration last month.

It is the impending deduction, which leaves Wigan in danger of dropping down to League One. At the minute they sit 13th on 57 points but when the deduction is applied their points total falls to 45, which would take them to 21st, level on points with both Luton and Hull, ahead by only goal difference.

The EFL, according to the Evening Standard, have stated that the points deduction will only come into play this season if Wigan finish outside the relegation zone. It is therefore key that the club win their final two games to have any chance of staying up.

Buoyed by their recent performances, Paul Cook’s men will be full of confidence for their next game against fellow strugglers Charlton and their last fixture against promotion chasing Fulham. Win those two games, and it is likely that Wigan could remain in the Championship, even with the deduction coming in to play.

Wigan are just one of eight clubs that could face demotion to the third tier, as the bottom of the Championship table is incredibly tight with just two games left to play.

Hull City, who were pummelled by the Latics on Tuesday, Luton Town and yo-yo club Barnsley currently occupy the three relegation places. Barnsley are rock bottom, two points adrift of Luton and Hull who are level on 45 points, but with a game in hand on their relegation rivals.

Lingering above the drop zone by a single point are Charlton, who also boast a game in hand. Huddersfield, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are nervously looking over their shoulder as they are two points ahead of Charlton, having played a game more.

Birmingham and Stoke City are next, level on 49 points they sit 18th and 19th, again having played a game less than the likes of Huddersfield, Luton and Hull.

Barnsley, who won promotion to the Championship last season, are likely to go straight back down to League One, as they have the hardest run in of any of those fighting relegation.

Gerhard Struber’s men face table toppers Leeds tomorrow night before entertaining in form Nottingham Forest in their penultimate game. They end the season with a trip to Griffin Park to play Brentford, and it is hard to see the Tykes getting anything from those games given their mixed form since the restart.

They have won two, drawn three and lost one of their six games since they returned from the break, but given how well the teams they are coming up against have fared they are in real trouble of going down.

Luton had looked nailed on for a swift return to League One before the break as they sat bottom of the table having endured a tough season, their first at Championship level in 12 years.

The reappointment of Nathan Jones, after he was sacked by Stoke has no doubt aided their fortunes, as the Hatters have defeated Swansea and Huddersfield since the restart, as well as picking up points against Leeds, Preston, Barnsley and QPR.

A heavy 5-0 defeat to Reading hasn’t helped their goal difference, which stands at -30, the highest in the league, which could be a determining factor in the race against the drop.

They face two cup finals to preserve their Championship status, the first a monumental clash with Hull at the weekend and the second against mid table Blackburn.

It will be a big ask, as Luton will also need others to slip up, but Nathan Jones’ men shouldn’t be written of just yet, especially given their recent revival.

Their opponents this weekend Hull have endured a tumultuous few months, and are in serious danger of dropping down to the third division for the first time since 2005.

Grant McCann will demand a response from his side in this weekend’s encounter with Luton and again against Cardiff after their dismal display on Tuesday night. They lacked any real fight and merely rolled over against the Latics.

They have won just one game since New Year’s Day, as their abysmal form in 2020 has seen them slide alarmingly down the table.

It is no surprise that their disastrous form has coincided with them selling their best two players, Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in the January transfer window, and failing to bring in suitable replacements for them.

Wigan’s impending point deduction has given them an olive branch but if they don’t collect any points from their final two games, which given their current state of affairs will be a tough ask, they could still go down.

Last season’s League One Playoff winners Charlton are also involved in the relegation scrap. They won back to back games straight after the restart, but are since winless in four to leave them hovering over the dreaded drop zone with three games left to play.

They face off against Birmingham tonight in a must win clash, before hosting Wigan and travelling to Leeds on the last day of the season.

A return of four points from those games should be enough to keep Lee Bowyer’s side in the division, but it is going to be a struggle given their lack of goals recently amidst the departure of their star striker Lyle Taylor.

Although very much still in trouble, a win this evening should ease fears of relegation for the Addicks.

A team in dire need of a victory are Huddersfield, who are in serious danger of suffering back to back relegations, given their poor form since the restart. They have won just one game since the break and have failed to hit the target in their last four games.

A 0-0 draw last night against Sheffield Wednesday, coupled with a Charlton victory tonight would leave the Terriers just three points above the drop zone. They have West Brom and Millwall in their last two games, a difficult run in compared to others around them.

With goals hard to come by, they really have to dig deep to grind out some results, as they will need to avoid defeat in both those fixtures to stay up.

Birmingham are another team who have been pulled into the relegation battle, as results since the restart haven’t come their way. They have lost four of six games, drawing the other two, the form of a club in real trouble which cost manager Pep Clotet his job.

They have three games left, against Charlton, Preston and Derby, and with four points separating them and Hull, and Wigan’s impending deduction, their early season form has probably saved them from falling out of the division.

A major rebuild will have to commence at St Andrews next season however, with Clotet gone and talented youngster Bellingham set to join Borussia Dortmund for £22.5 million.

Stoke City are also fighting for survival, after an inconsistent season. Their form since the restart has encapsulated this notion. Michael O’Neill’s men drew with Reading before losing to Middlesbrough and Wigan. They then thumped Barnsley 4-0, lost to Leeds 5-0 and beat Birmingham 2-0, to distance themselves from the drop zone.

They had an awful start to the season under Nathan Jones, winning just 2 of their 14 games to sit in the relegation zone. Michael O’Neill’s arrival at the bet365 Stadium mid season helped to steady the ship, and the win over Birmingham helped them take huge strides towards securing safety, something which looked impossible in November.

They face Bristol City tonight, knowing a win will all but guarantee safety, helping them break into the 50 points bracket with two tough games left against Brentford and Nottingham Forest.

Given the erratic nature of the Championship predicting who will go down is arguably one of the most difficult tasks in football. Yet, it is hard to look past Barnsley and Hull to be relegated, given their remaining fixtures and poor form.

Who will join them is where it gets interesting as Luton, Charlton, Huddersfield and Birmingham are all scrapping to avoid falling into the final relegation place.

Throw in Wigan’s impending points deduction and the Championship relegation battle becomes even more complicated and simultaneously intriguing for a neutral watching on.

For more reaction to Wigan Athletic entering administration see video below:

Nottingham Forest 3 – Luton 1

Nottingham Forest came from behind to beat bottom of the table Luton Town to move 5 points within the second automatic promotion spot with a game in hand, that game ahead is on Wednesday Night against Reading at The City Ground.

The prospect of that gap being 2 points is quite remarkable when you consider it was as big as 14 points in December when Forest were in the midst of a traditional slump during that month. However, unlike previous seasons, the slump has not continued post-Christmas – Forest winning 4 and drawing 1 since then. Along with second-placed Leeds going through another traditional slump in form has meant Forest are not out of the automatic promotion contention.

However, if they are to achieve this target they will have to improve performances, today’s match was another example of Forest not dominating the play but finding a way to win. They started slowly and allowed Luton early possession and pressure which led to Luton taking a deserved lead through Harry Cornick after 23 minutes. The goal came from the area where Luton were looking most dangerous, with a cross from the left-hand side from Potts.

The first half was a physical battle in midfield which Luton were largely winning, however, when Forest’s Ben Watson won one of these battles, Luton complained it was a foul but Forest played on and a superb cross-field pass from Yuri Ribero found Joe Lolley who ran at his full-back and fired a shot which was not handled by Luton keeper Simon Sluga, who should have done a lot better.

Forest improved massively after the half time break being on the front for much of it, the pressure told when Lolley scored with a fantastic strike into the top corner from outside the box after Watson’s good pass found him on the right-wing from where he cut inside before finishing. Lolley was a constant threat in the second half, running past players every time he got the ball. He created more chances to extend the lead and put the game beyond doubt but efforts from Tiago Silva and Sammy Ameobi went just wide.

Luton came slightly back into it in the last 10 minutes but Forest won a penalty with just minutes remaining when Silva’s free-kick struck Sonny Bradley’s hand in the wall. Lewis Grabban converted to get grab his 15th goal of the season to secure the 3 points.

Oh how much you’ve grown…

Belgium’s ex-assistant manager, Ivory Coast’s current assistant manager, Chelsea and Man City players on loan, an FA Cup winning midfielder and now an international goal scorer. Perhaps a low to mid table Premier League team? Maybe a top 2 level championship club? Wrong on both accounts. It’s Luton Town Football Club.

6 years ago today, Leicester City and Burnley were on course for promotion back to the Premier League and 5 current Premier League teams were playing in the Championship. Luton Town on the other hand, were playing and losing 2-0 away to Wrexham. Alex Wall was sent off that day, and as he walked down the tunnel I doubt anyone could have imagined the meteoric rise that would take place in the next 6 years.

In the week that James Collins made a scoring debut for the Republic of Ireland, it is only right that Luton fans remember the work that has gone in to reach the frankly dizzying heights of the Championship.

However, it is equally important to look to the future, and boy does it look bright. A new stadium under construction, a new retail park to help fund it. The playing squad is young and exciting and, most importantly, owners who are not willing to put the club’s future at risk for the sake of immediate glory.

It is easy to forget that just 6 years ago the Town were non-league. The international break was proceeded by back to back wins against two of last seasons premier league bottom three in Cardiff and Huddersfield.

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

The Championship: In a league of it’s own?

The gulf between the Premier League and the rest of the EFL has been well documented, and in recent seasons it has only continued to grow. However, it seems as though the jump from League 1 to the Championship is almost in the same ballpark now. I’m going to take a look at the finances and see how the newly promoted League 1 clubs (Luton, Barnsley and Charlton) could fair in the battleground that is the English Championship.

Let’s take wages as an example. The average basic wage in the Championship is around £330,000 a year, working out at about £6,300 a week. While this is nowhere near the dizzying heights of Premier League wages, it makes the £70,000 a year average for League 1 look rather small. That works out at £1,346 a week: a significant gulf is starting to emerge. The same can be said for agents’ fees. Last season, League 1 clubs paid a total of £2,611,647 to agents in a bid to sign players. That sounds like a lot money doesn’t it? So, what if I told you Aston Villa alone spent £5,510,180. That’s more than double the League 1 figure. So how can clubs be expected to thrive in the Championship on a League 1 Budget? I’m going to have a look at some past examples to see how clubs have fared making that jump.

In 2015-16, Wigan Athletic won League 1 to secure promotion to the Championship. By the end of the next season, they had regained their League 1 status, finishing 9 points adrift of safety. Then the next season, they were back up again. What does this yoyo tell us about the difficulty clubs have in maintaining themselves at Championship level?

It is obviously not impossible though. Some teams promoted from League 1 in recent memory include Wolves (Premier League), Bournemouth (Premier League), Huddersfield (Championship) and Brighton (Premier League). So it can be done. The newly promoted teams will face a level of competition and finances that they are not used to, so how will they get on?

Luton Town

Luton’s story has been quite remarkable. From the infamous -30 points season of 08/09, to near bankruptcy and then to 3 promotions in 6 years (going up from League 2 and League 1 in successive campaigns). They came into League 1 with a decent budget, but there were limited expectations. The budget and spending placed them around the playoffs, so to go on and win the league was a massive achievement. They are a prime example of how important good ownership is to a football club, and so my predicted finish for The Hatters in the Championship is 15th.

Barnsley

Barnsley have Championship experience as recently as 2017-18, being relegated after some ownership problems led to the selling of 80% of the club and the sacking of Assistant Manager Tommy Wright. New ownership gave the club momentum, as did the appointing of manager Daniel Stendel. Given the calibre of player that Barnsley have (some were retained from the Championship), my prediction for the Tykes is 13th.

Charlton

Charlton’s promotion was thanks to a unified group of players and management, and in spite of their owners. Protests continue against the owners off the pitch, but on it they were one of the best footballing sides in the league. The troubles with the owners may well make it difficult to make quality signings and investments, so a lot of trust will have to be put in the players that got them into the Championships to keep them there. My predicted finish for the Addicks is 18th.