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The Opposition: Luton Town

The lowdown on our midweek hosts

2 October 2019

Millwall’s Sky Bet Championship season rolls on this Wednesday night, as The Lions continue on their travels against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

After a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town in our last outing, Neil Harris’ side will take another shot at a first away win of the season as Graeme Jones’ Luton side look to pick up where they left off, after taking a 2-1 victory home from Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers. The Hatters sit in 18th place in the division, above the 20th-placed Lions by virtue of two goals’ difference, level on 10 points.

Luton Town returned to Championship football following a 12-year absence at the end of last season, roaring to the League One title and winning promotion alongside Barnsley and Charlton Athletic. The promotion signalled the end of a torrid period for the Bedfordshire side, who suffered three successive relegations between 2007 and 2009 amid severe financial turmoil – resulting in their exit from League football. Five seasons in what was formerly known as the Conference Premier followed, before promotion back to League Two under John Still in 2014. Successive promotions in the last two seasons have seen Luton return to their former proud status, aiming to maintain stability in the Championship. The Hatters’ sole second tier title came in 1982, lifting the FA Cup in 1959 and the League Cup in 1988. Luton also won the Football League Trophy in 2009, notably relegated from the EFL in the same season.

A number of players were recruited to Kenilworth Road in an effort to strengthen Luton’s squad for the challenge ahead. Among them were most notably former Millwall midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, alongside the likes of Martin Cranie, Callum McManaman and Jacob Butterfield. Izzy Brown and James Bree were also amongst loanees to come in. James Justin and Jack Stacey departed Luton for the Premier League, with Donervon Daniels and Jake Jervis leaving elsewhere on loan.

Graeme Jones took over the Luton first-team reins earlier this year from caretaker boss Mick Harford – Jones’ first full managerial role. The 49-year-old’s coaching expertise is however extensive, having worked as assistant to current Belgium chief Roberto Martinez for 11 years – spanning spells with Swansea, Wigan, Everton and later the Belgian side. A former striker in his playing days, Jones enjoyed his biggest successes in the 1990s with Doncaster and Wigan, also representing the likes of St. Johnstone and Southend before retiring at Hamilton in 2006. Until the beginning of 2019, Jones assisted Darren Moore at West Bromwich Albion and now takes on his first major role.

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