Top of table battle sees Luton travel to the Valley


When Charlton last met Luton Town earlier in the season the two were in very different predicaments. The Hatters looking likely to survive while Charlton had just started a very capable promotion push.

Fast forward to the present day and Mick Harford is the manager of the away side after Nathan Jones departed to Stoke City and the new manager has hit the ground running with the team top of League One as they look to play Championship football for the first time since the 2006-2007 campaign.

Last time the two met was at Kenilworth Road back in September. Luton, who were then hosts, looked dead set on a 2-1 win after coming from behind as Harry Cornick and James Collins scored late goals. However, Chris Solly scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to rescue a point.

For Charlton, they are all but confirmed as one of the four sides in this year’s League One playoff’s and that has been no doubt down to their particularly impressive form. They have remained unbeaten in the last ten matches which has seen them beat the likes of Portsmouth and Burton Albion.

Luton haven’t lost a league game since 13th October last year, when they lost 3-2 to now promotion contenders Barnsley. The hatters are the third highest team in terms of points received away from Kenilworth Road as they have picked up 36 in 20 matches.

Bowyer’s Charlton are the most in-form side in the last eight games as they have achieved 20 points out of a possible 24, their challengers have four less but look to rectify that in this crucial top of the table battle.

The Charlton manager has been subject to contract talks after leading his side to a high league position but says the team is first:

“I just want to try and concentrate on what we’re doing here. It’s so much more important than my contract. I just want to see us keep winning games and see where we end up at the end of the season, regarding whether we can get the top two or whether we’re in the playoffs, so that’s the most important thing for me. The contract thing is going to sort itself out. But I just want to get promotion, so that’s more important.”

Luton’s manager Harford spoke to the press about his side’s promotion push:

“We haven’t achieved anything at the moment. Every game we treat individually, every team we treat with the same respect. We know every game is going to be tough, it’s going to be tough to get over the line, there’s going to be ups and downs and until we have achieved that, then we will keep working hard and we will work our socks off every day.

“We know if we win eight points then we get promoted, but we go into every game the same. We try and win every game, we take absolutely nothing for granted, we know there are going to be twists and turns.”

After making a number of changes for his side’s 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday it is expected that the former Newcastle player Bowyer will revert back to a more traditional team with some familiar faces making a return.

Chris Solly is more likely to return to the squad as the club legend is a much more reliable opinion when playing the table toppers while Jonny Williams and Krystian Bielik could also return if they pass fitness tests ahead of this weekend’s match.

Either Danny Hylton or Jason Cummings is likely to feature as one of the two strikers for the away side as Sky Bet League One Player of the Season Award winner James Collins got suspended for picking up two yellows in Town’s 2-2 draw with Blackpool.

The aforementioned Collins has scored in his last two games he’s played in while he failed to make the bench last match. Cummings scored that all-important equaliser.

Three players are out for Hartford’s team as Alan McCormack (hamstring) and Defenders Dan Potts and Glen Rea (knee) are all still in the recovery stages of their injuries.

Since Karlan Grant left for Huddersfield Town back in January, Lyle Taylor has really taken to becoming the Addicks star striker as he has netted 19 in 38 games last scoring in their 1-0 win over Bradford City, last time his side were at the Valley.

The Montserrat international has also been the fifth-placed teams’ top contributor with assists as the striker has set up his team-mates nine times.

Collins who was mentioned earlier for his red card is Luton’s top scorer by some mile as he has netted 22 times in 44 matches. Elliot Lee is Town’s next best attacker with 10 goals.

Former Sunderland and Brighton winger Kazenga LuaLua has set up his peers the most since becoming a hatter in the summer, he has assisted eight in 25 matches.


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