For the first time since 2007, Luton return to the Championship and they get a taste of the big time straight away with the visit of Middlesbrough to Kenilworth Road.
This is an exciting time for Luton, who won planning permission to build a new stadium in January, and it is a deserved reward for a steady climb from the non-league which included promotions in 2014, 2018 and 2019. To prepare for that they have added a useful amount of Championship experience in the shape of Jacob Butterfield, James Tunnicliffe and Callum McManaman, but this is still a big step up for them and they will miss departing full-backs James Justin and Jack Stacey at this level.
Middlesbrough look to be in transition on paper, with Tony Pulis having left last season to be replaced by a local man and club favourite in Johnathan Woodgate. Woodgate is hoping to install a more fluid style of football at The Riverside but he will have to do so with a far smaller squad than his predecessor. Six first-teamers have left (and more who were in the wider squad) and just four players have arrived this summer.
Luton Town v Middlesbrough
19:45 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
APR 1995 DIVISION ONE Middlesbrough 2-1 Luton
OCT 1994 DIVISION ONE Luton 5-1 Middlesbrough
MAR 1994 DIVISION ONE Luton 1-1 Middlesbrough
SEP 1993 DIVISION ONE Middlesbrough 0-0 Luton
FEB 1989 DIVISION ONE Luton 1-0 Middlesbrough
OCT 1988 DIVISION ONE Middlesbrough 2-1 Luton
OCT 1974 DIVISION ONE (OLD) Luton 0-1 Middlesbrough
AUG 1974 DIVISION ONE (OLD) Middlesbrough 1-1 Luton
MAR 1974 DIVISION ONE (OLD) Luton 0-1 Middlesbrough
NOV 1973 DIVISION ONE (OLD) Middlesbrough 2-1 Luton
Blackpool player of the year Marc Bola and ex-West Ham Marcus Brown are two smart additions whilst Woodgate does have the core of a strong squad to work with over the future – Darren Randolph, Daniel Ayala, Paddy McNair, Adam Clayton, and Britt Assombalonga are all still at his disposal – but immediate squad depth is a problem ahead of tonight’s immediate season opener.
Both Dael Fry and George Friend will be missed in defence and only three of their 11 listed substitutes for this have Championship experience, so through the season, Woodgate could run into some trouble if problems befall his first-teamers.
This is a tough old match to weigh up, and it might be the draw is the best value call here between two sides that we may need time to evaluate properly.
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