Preview: Luton Town vs. Stoke City – prediction, team news, lineups
Sports Mole preview Saturday’s Championship game between Luton Town and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
City of Luton play host Stoke-City on Saturday afternoon to further strengthen their position in the Championship playoff spots.
At a time when the Hatters are fourth in the standings, Stoke sits in 18th and is trying to move away from the relegation zone.
Luton’s recent FA Cup form left much to be desired, requiring a replay to defeat Championship contenders Wigan Athletic before ending in a draw against League Two club Grimsby Town last weekend.
Still, it was a different story in the league as the Hatters have won five of their last six games in the league, their only loss coming when they squandered a two-goal advantage against West Bromwich Albion.
Since then, however, there have been wins and clean sheets against Wigan and Cardiff City, with Tuesday’s win over the latter ending in a 1-0 result.
Luton are now fourth, a game ahead of teams third and fifth, leading to optimism the club can finish their second straight season in the playoffs.
However, Luton are still just five points adrift of 11th before playing a Stoke side that could improve in the second half of the season.
Although the Potters inevitably benefited from Star Defender Harry Souttarfive loans were added in the last week of the January transfer window.
Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe was the standout name, but fresh faces have popped up in numerous areas of the pitch to kick-start their seasons.
After a three-game losing streak, Stoke defeated Reading 4-0 in their final league game, a result that saw Stevenage pass in the FA Cup.
With 12 points, the difference between these two sides is, Alex Nile and his team can’t think of a late promotion just yet, but they have the quality in their ranks to move up the table.
Form of the Luton Town Championship:
Form of Luton Town (all competitions):
Form of the Stoke City Championship:
Form of Stoke City (all competitions):
Luton brought in Wonderful Nakamba and joe taylor on transfer deadline day to bolster their options ahead of the final three months of the campaign.
Fitness issues aside, however, the pair is at best on the bench, with Edwards possibly choosing an unchanged starting line-up.
Cody Drameha new signing from Leeds United, is rated on his debut midweek after his fourth game of the season.
Although Stoke played with a back four against Stevenage, Neil could insist on switching to a back three to match Luton’s formation.
That would probably see Dujon Sterling or Ki-Jana Höver used on the right full-back, allowed Josh Laurent return to central midfield.
Neil must also decide whether to call back Dwight Gayle to the front three or keep Bersant Celina in the team on flank but Tuanzebe is unlikely to start this weekend after a year without competitive senior play.
Luton Town possible starting line-up:
Horvath; Burke, Lockyer, Bell; Drameh, Clark, Mpanzu, Doughty; woodrow; Morris, Adebayo
Stoke City possible starting line-up:
Bonham; Wilmot, Jagielka, Fuchs; Sterling, Baker, Laurent, Tymon; Campbell, Brown, Celina
We say Luton Town 1-1 Stoke City
While Luton is considered the clear favorite to win this game, the home record was not convincing. With that in mind, and his Stoke team fresh again after their late deals, we’re forecasting a competitive share of the spoils.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert Tipster partners at Sporita.com predict over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Above 1.5: data