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Preview: Luton Town vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Luton Town and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Luton Town and Middlesbrough will both be keen to secure top-half finishes in the Championship when they meet on Saturday afternoon.

The two sides sit 11th and ninth respectively at this stage of the campaign, separated by three points, with the Hatters having three games left to play and Boro two.


Match preview

Luton Town's James Collins celebrates scoring their first goal against Watford in the Championship on April 17, 2021© Reuters

Luton staged a superb comeback against Bristol City last weekend as they trailed 2-0 at half time at Ashton Gate, but goals after the break from James Collins, Elijah Adebayo and Harry Cornick secured a 3-2 victory.

It was the first time in 80 years they had been two goals down away from home and fought back to win, and the victory moved them on to 60 points.

This means that the Hatters cannot finish lower than 14th – a remarkable achievement considering they only survived relegation on the final day of last season, and Nathan Jones appears to have won fans back over after his unpopular departure to Stoke City two years ago.

There is no sign of Luton taking their feet off the gas as the season draws to a close, though, as they are unbeaten in their last four matches and have won five of their last eight; they have not gone five matches without defeat all season.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Middlesbrough are also looking to end the campaign strongly, and the Teeside outfit have won their last two games; they have not won three on the bounce since December.

Boro beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 last weekend thanks to goals from Yannick Bolasie, Josh Coburn and Duncan Watmore to keep them on track for a place in the top 10.

A five-game winless run before their recent victories ended their hopes of sneaking into the playoffs, but Neil Warnock will still see this campaign as a solid foundation to build on as he aims to win a ninth promotion in English football next season.

Middlesbrough have lost four of their last five away games and have not won on their last four trips to Luton since 1974.

However, they did pick up three points in this season's reverse fixture at the Riverside as Chuba Akpom's second half goal earned a 1-0 victory.

Luton Town Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Middlesbrough Championship form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W



Team News

Luton manager Nathan Jones pictured on June 27, 2020© Reuters

Jones admitted that Luton came out of their win over Bristol City with "a few bumps and bruises", suggesting that he may make a few tweaks to a side that was unchanged at Ashton Gate.

That could mean starts for Collins and Cornick who came off the bench to score last weekend – the latter finding the net for the first time this season.

Dan Potts and George Moncur are also pushing for recalls at left-back and in midfield if Jones intends to freshen up the XI.

Warnock could name the same starting lineup for the third game in a row after two successive wins, particularly as he has very few other options.

Due to injuries to players such as Darnell Fisher and Sam Morsy, as well as Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher leaving the club ahead of the expiration of their contracts, Boro's substitutes bench has been mainly filled by academy players in recent weeks.

Coburn and Connor Malley have been the two academy stars used from the bench in the last two games, and there is some hope that they may earn starts on Saturday, but Warnock is notoriously cautious with youngsters and is likely to use them later in the game again.

Luton Town possible starting lineup:
Sluga; Bree, Pearson, Bradley, Potts; Mpanzu, Dewsbury-Hall, Moncur; Cornick; Adebayo, Collins

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Archer; McNair, Hall, Bola; Kebano, Saville, Howson, Johnson; Watmore, Akpom, Bolasie


SM words green background

We say: Luton Town 1-1 Middlesbrough

This is a tricky one to call as both sides are ending the campaign in good form. Middlesbrough probably have more quality, but Luton have the squad depth to freshen things up as this gruelling season reaches a conclusion, and we are therefore backing a draw.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Luton vs Middlesbrough

Luton Town
51.7%
Draw
31.0%
Middlesbrough
17.2%
58
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Middlesborough's Yannick Bolasie scores their first goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship on April 24, 2021
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Jamie Smith refusing to give up in Sheffield Wednesday survival fight
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CNorwich CityNorwich462910775363997
4Swansea CitySwansea4623111256391780
5Barnsley46239145850878
6Bournemouth4622111373462777
7Reading461913146254870
8Cardiff CityCardiff4618141466491768
9Queens Park RangersQPR461911165755268
10Middlesbrough461810185553264
11Millwall461517144752-562
12Luton TownLuton461711184152-1162
13Preston North EndPreston46187214956-761
14Stoke CityStoke461515165052-260
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn4615121965541157
16Coventry CityCoventry461413194961-1255
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461216183745-852
18Birmingham CityBirmingham461313203761-2452
19Bristol City46156254668-2251
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461213215071-2149
21Derby CountyDerby461111243658-2244
RWycombe WanderersWycombe461110253969-3043
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46119264460-1642
RSheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461211234061-2141

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