Luton v Town – Preview
Town face Championship Luton Town in the first round of the Carabao Cup at Kenilworth Road this evening (KO 7.45pm).
With the squad set to be heavily rotated, Town boss Paul Lambert is still looking to win the tie: “I’m a great believer that if you’re in something you go and try and win it, you go and try and win it the best you can and I trust everybody to go and do everything they can to try and get through.
“If you’re in a competition you go and try and win it or there’s no point, you may as well pull us out of it.
“We’ve got many fans going there as well, so we’re [going to go to try and win it]. It’s a really tough game but we’ll go and try and win.”
Will Norris will make his debut in goal for Town. The on loan Wolves stopper has made a name for himself in cup competitions and will be looking to use tonight’s game to show Lambert he could be number one this season.
In defence Lambert has already said there will be changes, with Luke Woolfenden set to be rested. James Wilson looks likely to deputise next to skipper Luke Chambers, with Josh Emmanuel and Bailey Clements in contention for full back roles. Another option at the back could be experienced midfielder Cole Skuse.
Emyr Huws and Andre Dozzell are likely to start as the holding midfield duo. This has probably been the longest run Huws has had at Town without being injured and a potential 90 minutes in his legs will do him no harm at all.
Ahead of Huws and Dozzell, Jordan Roberts and Idris El Mizouni could feature while Alan Judge could occupy the number 10 role behind the lone striker. Judge came on after half an hour on Saturday but looked rusty so more minutes for the Irish international would be a big plus tonight.
One of James Norwood or Kayden Jackson will start in the lone striking role, with the Blues having no other option at present.
Luton have made a solid start to Championship football, although their points haul may not suggest so. They suffered a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday which followed a 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough on the opening weekend.
Hatters boss Graeme Jones wasn’t giving much away at yesterday’s press conference.
Jones said: “I haven’t made my mind up yet.
“I want to see how the group from the weekend comes back today, see if they’re fresh and we’ll have a look tonight.
“We’ll have a training session tonight, seven o’clock, in preparation for tomorrow.
“The priority for me is to be as competitive as we can, to win the game, so that will be my first port of call.
“If that comes with seeing one or two new faces, then so be it, but I want to put a side out that’s capable of winning the game first and foremost.”
Defender Martin Cranie and Simon Sluga are both fit if called upon, with Cranie taken off for former Town loanee James Bree at the weekend, while Sluga looked to have picked up an injury late on.
Jones continued: “No, he’s (Cranie) okay, he had cramp.
“When you see someone stretching their calves, I was thinking, we don’t want to lose Martin Cranie with a torn calf.
“So we got him off and got James Bree on who’s an able replacement, but he’s fine.
“Simon went down and scared everybody because we had made three subs.
“But I was prepared for every eventuality as I had to pick a goalkeeper quite quickly, but Simon’s fine.
“I think James Collins was up for the challenge, whether I selected him or not, I don’t know.”
On any other players being fit for the clash, Jones added: “Alan’s (Sheehan) trained really well the last two days and Danny Hylton had a good period of work now, as has Kaz (LuaLua).
“So apart from young Jake Peck and Frankie Musonda, we’ve got a fully fit group to choose from.”
The Blues have won 12 games between the sides, Luton 12 with five having ended in draws. Luton have won both previous ties in this competition.
Tonight’s referee is Brett Huxtable from Devon, who has shown three yellow cards and no red in his two games so far this season.
Huxtable has had previous with Town in this competition, he officiated last years defeat on penalties to Exeter City.