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Home Blog MJW Writes Let's Talk About...Luton Town

Let’s Talk About…Luton Town

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After back-to-back 0-0 home draws, the Swans are back on the road this weekend. They visit Luton Town, who find themselves in 13th place, while Swansea sit three points behind them in 20th.

Luton have picked up nine points from their first seven games, although they have drawn their last three games. They picked up six points in their opening three outings, starting with a 3-0 home win over Peterborough, before a 3-2 loss at West Brom and a 1-0 away win over Barnsley. They followed that with a shocking 5-0 home loss to Birmingham, before draws with Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City.

Their transfer window

 Ins

Luton kicked off their transfer window by signing Fred Onyedinma from Wycombe Wanderers. The 24-year-old midfielder joined for an undisclosed fee following Wycombe’s relegation. Since his arrival, he has made four appearances, scoring once, and assisting twice.

Allan Campbell and Carlos Mendes Gomes joined from Motherwell and Morecambe respectively. Campbell has played five league games so far, while Mendes-Gomes has featured in three games, albeit mostly from the bench.

For Luton, July began with four players arriving on free transfers. First, Amari’i Bell joined after leaving Blackburn. The 27-year-old left back has featured in six Championship games for the club, scoring the only goal in their 1-0 win over Barnsley.

Reece Burke arrived after departing Hull City; the 25-year-old defender has played three league games since making the move.

Luton also announced the signing of a highly experienced striker, bringing 34-year-old Cameron Jerome to Kenilworth Road. The former Cardiff striker scored 13 goals under Russell Martin at MK Dons last season. He has also represented several teams at Premier League and Championship level.

Lastly, former Arsenal youth product Henri Lansbury completed his move to the club after departing Bristol City. Lansbury was an important figure for Nottingham Forest between 2012-2017 before joining Aston Villa for £3 million. However, Lansbury failed to deliver at Villa Park, joining Bristol City on a short-term deal earlier this year.

Following their four free agent signings, Luton closed out their transfer window with the signing of Admiral Muskwe from Leicester. He joined for an undisclosed fee, after scoring three in 17 games for Wycombe Wanderers last season. Muskwe has also represented his native Zimbabwe on four occasions.

Outs

Luton waved goodbye to several players over the summer, with the majority departing on free transfers.

Brendan Galloway and Ryan Tunnicliffe departed for League One clubs, joining Plymouth and Portsmouth respectively.

James Collins, who scored 68 in 174 league games for Luton, joined Cardiff City. The 30-year-old forward has represented Republic of Ireland on 13 occasions since making his senior international debut in 2019. He was Luton’s top scorer in both of their Championship seasons since the club’s promotion in 2019.

Matty Pearson and George Moncur also joined fellow Championship clubs. Pearson moved to Huddersfield after making 128 league appearances in his three years at Luton, while Moncur joined Hull City after two-and-a-half years at the club.

Kazenga LuaLua moved to Turkish second-tier side Gençlerbirliği. The former Newcastle youth product spent three years at Luton, following several loan spells at Brighton.

Their only sale saw Wales international Joe Morrell join League One Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee. The 24-year-old started in all four of Wales’ games at Euro 2020. In total, he has represented Wales on 20 occasions.

Meanwhile, Elliot Lee and Peter Kioso joined Charlton and MK Dons on loan.

Their captain

Sonny Bradley joined the Hatters from Plymouth Argyle in 2018. The 30-year-old centre back began his career at Hull City, although he made just two appearances for the club before joining Portsmouth in 2013. He remained at Pompey for a year, making 33 League Two appearances.

In 2014, Bradley moved to Crawley Town, then in League One. He played 26 league games as the club were relegated. The following season, he featured in all 46 of their League Two outings. The club finished 20th, with Bradley departing that summer to join Plymouth Argyle.

In his first season at Plymouth, he helped guide the club to promotion, scoring seven in 44 League Two games as they finished second. He remained a key member of their team for the 2017-18 season as newly promoted Plymouth finished in seventh in League One. However, this proved to be his final season for the club, as he moved to Luton Town on a free transfer.

He missed just one league game in his first season at Luton as the club achieved their second successive promotion, winning the League One title one year after achieving automatic promotion to the third tier. This saw Luton return to the Championship after a 12-year absence.

Since achieving promotion, Bradley has made 78 Championship appearances for Luton Town. His only appearance so far this season came as a second-half substitute in their 2-2 draw at Blackburn.

Their manager

Luton Town are currently managed by Nathan Jones. Following Steve Cooper’s departure from Swansea, Jones is now the only Welsh manager in the Championship. The 48-year-old former left back was born in Blaenrhondda in South Wales.

He began his youth career with Cardiff City but was released in 1991. He played for several Welsh clubs, before joining Luton Town from Merthyr Tydfil in 1995.

However, he departed the club soon after, joining Spanish second-tier side Badajoz. There, he made 21 Segunda Division appearances, before joining Numancia in the Spanish third tier a year later.

He remained at the club for one season, returning to England in 1997 to join Southend United. They were relegated to the fourth tier in his first season. He remained with the club for the next two seasons, which included a brief loan spell at fellow fourth-tier side Scarborough.

In 2000, Jones left Southend to join Brighton & Hove Albion. The club achieved back-to-back promotions in his first two years, rising from the Third Division (now League Two) to the First Division (now the Championship). However, they finished 23rd, making a quick return to the third tier.

The following season, Brighton won promotion at the first time of asking. Jones made 19 appearances in the newly renamed Championship, in what proved to be his final season for the club. Brighton avoided relegation, but Jones returned to League One to sign for Yeovil Town.

He spent the remainder of his playing career at Yeovil, playing all seven seasons for the club in League One. He retired in 2012 having made 451 English league appearances.

Shortly after retiring, he joined Championship club Charlton Athletic as an under-21 development coach. He would remain in the job for a little over a year, before returning to Brighton in July 2013. He took on the role as assistant head coach, working under Oscar Garcia. For a brief period in December 2014, Jones served as caretaker manager. He resumed his previous role when Chris Hughton was appointed on 31st December 2014.

He remained at Brighton until January 2016. He left the club to become the manager of Luton Town, then in League Two. He steered the club comfortably to safety, before guiding them to the play-offs the following season. However, they were beaten on aggregate by Blackpool.

After the disappointment of the play-off semi-final defeat, Luton achieved automatic promotion to League One a year later, finishing second with 88 points. They were also the league’s highest scorers, with 94 goals and a +48-goal difference. This ended a 10-year absence from the third tier; Luton suffered three successive relegations between 2007-2009.

On their return to League One, Luton were promoted once again, winning the League One title with 94 points. However, they finished the season without Jones. He opted to leave the club in January 2019, joining Stoke City in the Championship.

However, his time at Stoke was short-lived. He won just three of the remaining 21 league games in 2018-19, with Stoke finishing 16th. He remained in charge until November 2019, when he was sacked after winning two of their opening 14 league outings. He left Stoke with a win percentage of 15.8%.

Less than 18 months after departing Luton, Jones was reappointed as the club’s manager on 28th May 2020, to a mixed reaction from Luton fans who were unhappy with the nature of his previous departure.  Due to the Covid delay, there were still nine games remaining, with Luton sat in 23rd place when he arrived. He drew his first game back, before securing a 1-0 win away at Swansea to give Luton hope of a late survival. They went on to win three, draw three and lose one of their remaining seven games, finishing 19th thanks to a final day win over Blackburn Rovers.

Last season, they achieved their best EFL finish since 2006-07, coming 12th with 62 points.

Previous meetings with Luton Town

5th December 2020

After suffering defeat in their previous game, the Swans welcomed Luton Town to SA1, hoping to move back into the play-off places.

Swansea got off to a dream start, opening the scoring in the second minute when Connor Roberts’ shot deflected beyond the James Shea.

With 20 minutes to go, Luton were reduced to ten men when Matty Pearson was shown a second-yellow card for a high boot.

In the 89th minute, Andre Ayew doubled Swansea’s advantage. After the disappointment of their 1-0 home loss to Luton last season, Swansea got their revenge, secured a third win in five matches.

Full time – Swansea City 2-0 Luton Town

 13th March 2021

In a low-key affair, the Swans travelled to Kenilworth Road in March looking to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive. Luton were sat in 16th, 12 points above the relegation zone.

After a goalmouth scramble in the Swansea area, a lofted Ryan Manning pass gave the visitors a counter-attacking opportunity. He found Yan Dhanda, who found Conor Hourihane on the edge of the six-yard box. The on-loan midfielder slotted home to give the Swans the lead.

The hosts had an equaliser ruled out for offside before Woodman made a crucial save to deny Elijah Adebayo and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.

Luton controlled large parts of the game but were unable to find an equaliser. Swansea took all three points back to South Wales, staying level on points with second-place Watford.

Final score – Luton 0-1 Swansea

Match Preview

Following the draw on Wednesday, the Swans should be targeting all three points this weekend. They looked improved once again against Millwall but were unable to turn their chances into goals. Michael Obafemi should have given Swansea the lead in the closing stages, while summer signing Liam Walsh came close with a direct free kick.

Rhys Williams missed the last game with injury but has not been officially ruled out for this weekend’s game. Liam Walsh impressed after making his Swansea debut as a second-half substitute, so he is likely to feature again this weekend.

After back-to-back substitute appearances, Michael Obafemi could be handed his first start in a Swansea shirt. Obafemi played the final 30 minutes, looking dangerous up-front. Flynn Downes also delivered another solid performance in midfield, while experienced keeper Ben Hamer recorded his second clean sheet in as many outings.

As for Luton, they snatched a point on Wednesday thanks to a 91st minute equaliser from Danny Hylton. They have drawn their last two games thanks to injury time equalisers, with Luke Berry scoring in the 98th minute to deny Blackburn last weekend.

Following the sale of their top scorer James Collins, Luton have shared the goals around so far, with their nine league goals coming from seven different scorers.

After two positive performances, the Swans must start to turn their possession into goals. A front two of Obafemi and Joel Piroe could cause Luton problems, although both are still inexperienced. Olivier Ntcham has looked promising, while Walsh could see more of the field as Swansea look to create more goalscoring opportunities.

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Matt Williamshttps://mjwwrites.wordpress.com/
My name is Matt Williams. I am a 24-year-old journalism graduate and aspiring sports journalist from South Wales. I am a fan of Swansea City, and regularly write about the team on my own personal blog. I also support the Carolina Panthers, and I am an avid follower of the Welsh national teams in football and rugby.

Swansea City v Hull City, EFL Championship

 

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