Luton Town fans, start preparing for life in League One. Less than 10 years ago, the Hatters were battling it out in the Conference Premier but a lot has changed since then. Now, Luton have the chance to rewrite the history books. Securing promotion this season will see Luton climb back into the third tier of English football for the first time since 2007/08. Most fans will be expecting Nathan Jones’ side to finish the job after a solid campaign.
At the time of writing, the Hatters are second in League Two – three points behind current leaders Accrington Stanley. More importantly, Luton have a five-point lead over fourth-placed Notts County. Kevin Nolan’s side were at the top of the table before Christmas but a slump in form has affected their chances of automatic promotion. Notts County’s loss is Luton’s gain though and the Hatters are in an excellent position with just six games to go.
Jones’ men have lost just seven matches so far this season – only Mansfield Town (7) have lost fewer league games. However, Luton’s recent form will be of some concern to the Kenilworth Road faithful. The Hatters have picked up just 11 points out of a possible 24 and fans will be hoping for a change in fortune in the coming weeks. The busy Easter period could make or break Luton’s campaign; two wins in the space of a week should put the Hatters in pole position to secure automatic promotion.
— The Football League Paper (@TheLeaguePaper) March 22, 2018
Looking directly at the League Two table, Luton deserve to be right in the mix. The Hatters have scored more goals (79) than any of their fourth-tier rivals and just three clubs have conceded less; Jones has the perfect blueprint for success there. To put their efforts into perspective, Luton have a +39 goal difference whilst the second best tally in the division, held by table toppers Accrington, is +24. Luton know how to win ugly, but they can also put on a show for their supporters…
Stanley striker Billy Kee is currently top of the League Two goalscoring charts with 21 goals but two Luton forwards aren’t too far behind. James Collins and Danny Hylton have both enjoyed prolific campaigns, notching 17 and 15 goals respectively. Perhaps most impressive of all is their goals per minute ratio. Collins is averaging a goal every 155 minutes of football whilst Hylton scores every 166 minutes. Only Kee can match those kinds of figures.
At the other end of the pitch, Marek Stech is having an unbelievable campaign. With 15 clean sheets in 38 league games, he leads the division and teams in the third tier have been linked with a move for the Czech shot-stopper. At the end of the day, scoring goals is crucial but so is keeping them out. Without a competent defensive unit, Luton would not be at the top of the table; Stech and co deserve plenty of plaudits for their efforts.
According to Oddschecker’s latest League Two markets, Luton are 1/20 with many high street bookmakers. It would take a brave man to back against Jones’ men on current form. As the playoffs draw closer, there will be a greater focus on the League Two race – expect a few Oddschecker previews on the action. Luton will feature prominently in many football tips; they are currently red hot favourites to book their return to League One via the automatic spots.
Fortunately, Luton’s remaining schedule looks kind – the fixtures against Mansfield and Notts County will be tough. Football isn’t won on paper though and it would be foolish for the Hatters to take anybody for granted. League Two is one of the most competitive divisions in English football and Luton will need to be at their very best to maintain their current position. Jones knows that they are now within touching distance of the third tier but there is still work to be done.
Luton Town have what it takes to secure automatic promotion and Hatters fans will fancy their chances of the title. Accrington are by no means invincible and Luton could be in for a very exciting end to the campaign. Winning football matches is the number one objective now but Nathan Jones will want to win the title. Start planning your away days in the third tier, Luton fans…