'Izzy Brown has looked a wonderful talent' - the inside track on Luton Town ahead of Leeds United clash
We spoke to Luton Today writer Mike Simmonds who has followed the club up and down the country this season to get the lowdown on Nathan Jones' men ahead of kick-off in LS11.
Luton have been battling relegation for much of the season - but how do you assess the campaign overall so far after promotion from League One last term?
It has been a very difficult campaign for the Hatters since coming up as there is a significant gap in class between League One and the Championship.
It took them quite a while to get to grips with the standard, particularly on their travels, going a number of matches without winning on the road and also being thumped 7-0 at Brentford.
However, since the turn of the year a number of players have found their feet and a run of five games without defeat, while tightening up massively at the back, has now given them a chance of staying up.
A win and a draw since the restart has given Luton a real chance to stay up with seven games to go - how much of an impact has Nathan Jones' return had on the team?
He has already had a big impact in a short space of time as the players seem happier and there’s definitely a greater sense of belief that Town can stay up this term, especially with their final six games being against sides in and around the bottom three.
Gone is the tactic of talking the Hatters down before a game now as Jones’ steely determination is there for all to see and he is desperate to do everything to ensure Luton are playing Championship football next term.
Are there any signs of how the break has impacted Luton? Has Nathan Jones changed much?
The break looked like it had actually come at the wrong time for Luton, as they were on the back of a three game unbeaten run and were just starting to gain some momentum in their battle to stay up.
However, they have come back showing the same kind of form, unbeaten in two, and are now in with a chance of staying up.
Jones has brought back in certain players like Elliot Lee and Jacob Butterfield who just weren’t getting a look-in under Graeme Jones, while has tinkered with the formation, making sure someone like James Collins stays more central, when he was being asked to play a lot wider beforehand, thus cutting down his impact in front of goal.
How would you describe Luton's style of play? What formation does Nathan Jones prefer?
Jones does favour the diamond formation, but altered that on Saturday in the 1-0 win at Swansea, and it worked to good effect.
Luton like to get on the ball and play when possible, although this evening, it might be that they have to get the defensive side of the game spot on and then try to hit Leeds on the counter.
The game at Kenilworth Road was a real battle in the reverse fixture with Leeds winning late on - are you expecting a similar game? How are Luton viewing the clash after a big win at the weekend?
Luton are going into the clash with optimism after beating Swansea and Jones has already spoken about it not being a ‘free hit’ with every game important to try and get something from to stay up.
I’d expect a similar contest in terms of Leeds dominating possession and having more of the chances. Although Town look a solid outfit now, if they can leave Elland Road with a positive result, it will be considered a great evening.
Izzy Brown is a name known to most at Elland Road - he never really featured under Marcelo Bielsa due to fitness concerns, but how has he done this season?
When he has played, Brown has looked a wonderful talent at times, with some glorious bits of skill when in possession. He has a number of assists to his name as well, more than once picking out James Collins in the box with pinpoint crosses.
Injury has affected him unfortunately though, as a bad hamstring strain kept him out for a few months and he is now just getting back to fitness from that.
Are there any other danger men Leeds should be wary of? James Collins looks an obvious one…
Collins is indeed the main goalscoring threat for the Hatters with 12 this season, while if he plays, Harry Cornick’s pace and direct running have troubled many teams this term.
Again, should he be selected, Izzy Brown when on the ball and creating chances can be a big problem for opposition teams.
Finally, are there any injury concerns for Luton and what is your predicted line-up?
Kazenga LuaLua is still out with his knee injury, while neither Brendan Galloway and Leeds loanee Eunan O’Kane are fit enough to be considered yet either.
Predicted team: Sluga, Pearson, Cranie, Carter-Vickers, Bradley, Rea, Butterfield, Shinnie, Brown, Hylton, Collins.