Under The Spotlight: Luton have the Premier League in their sights

Daniel McCarthy
LiveScore
Luton have sparked a surprise promotion challenge in the Championship this season
Luton have sparked a surprise promotion challenge in the Championship this season

Luton currently occupy one of the Championship play-off places and may be heading for one of the unlikeliest promotions in recent history.

Less than a decade ago, the Hatters were slugging it out in the National League — a low point in the club's history following a steep drop owing to financial issues.

But they are now one of the best-run clubs in the Football League pyramid and are pushing to earn a Premier League place for the very first time.

Ahead of tonight's clash with high-flying Huddersfield, we turn the spotlight on the in-form side from Bedfordshire. 

Welsh wizard

Manager Nathan Jones was the driving force behind Luton's promotion from League One back in 2019, although he did not finish the season with the Hatters — instead leaving to take the reins at Stoke.

That move did not work out however and Luton snared the Welshman back when their Championship status was hanging by a thread in 2019-20.

Luton were 23rd when he returned but they finished 19th and further progress was made last season as they ended up in 12th.

This term has been even better, despite the Hatters spending much less on transfers than the majority of their rivals.

Nathan Jones has excelled during both of his spells as Luton manager
Nathan Jones has excelled during both of his spells as Luton manager

Shrewd business

The quality of recruitment has been key for Luton. 

Prolific Elijah Adebayo has been a mainstay up front for the Hatters since joining from Walsall last season, while Allan Campbell's arrival from Motherwell last summer has also proved inspired business.

Those young, fresh faces have been mixed with experienced campaigners such as Cameron Jerome and Henri Lansbury, forming a blend which has allowed Jones' men to rise into the top six.

The 3-4-1-2 formation has been key in helping get the most of out the squad.

Adebayo is usually partnered up front by attacker Harry Cornick and the two players operate with a brilliant blend of pace and power, which is always very difficult to defend against.

Their ability to run the channels and in behind defenders allows more space and freedom for the midfielders to operate in.

Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is a powerful box-to-box midfielder who can occupy the space on the edge of the opposition area, while they also boast creativity from the likes of Luke Berry and Robert Snodgrass.

The Hatters are a team who like to press high up the field and counter-attack — at 44.6%, only three other teams in the Championship have averaged less possession this season.

Jones' men are comfortable without the ball and that is due to the solidity of the defence as much as their power up front.

The 48-year-old tends to use three defenders, like many in the Championship, and the presence of the extra body allows them to take risks on the press and counter.

Robert Snodgrass has added some experience to the Luton squad
Robert Snodgrass has added some experience to the Luton squad

Top-six finish within sight

Luton go to Huddersfield tonight with the Terriers also gunning for promotion.

If the visitors stick to their principles, the lack of real expectation could play into their hands.

A win would take them up to third, five points above seventh-placed Blackburn, with five games remaining. That would make them a near-certainty for a spot in next month's play-offs.

Many will be left tipping their hat to Jones if that remarkable achievement is secured.

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Luton TownChampionship
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