Mike Newell’s Luton Town will be the visitors to Hillsborough for Wednesday’s first home match of the new Championship season on Tuesday night.
A decent Hillsborough crowd should be on hand to welcome Paul Sturrock’s new look side on to the Hillsborough turf and will be boosted by the creditable 0-0 draw against PNE in the season opener at Deepdale on Saturday.
The Owls will face a tough challenge against Mike Newell’s well organised side though. Despite losing two key players in Kevin Nicholls and Steve Howard, the Hatters still managed a convincing win over Leicester City in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday and will be a tough side to beat.
Wednesday Team News:
Just one game in to the new Championship season and Owls boss Paul Sturrock will be forced to change his hand after the dismissal of Lee Bullen at Deepdale on Saturday. Bullen, who played in a right wing role, will miss the Owls next three matches although the referee has agreed to look at an appeal after Sturrock thought the decision was harsh.
Wade Small may make his full debut for the club after making a brief appearance as a sub in the draw on Saturday. Small replaced Steve Maclean for the final 10 minutes but may revert to his preferred right wing position to add some much needed pace to the Owls attack.
The dismissal of Bullen means Sturrock may have little choice but to opt for the same formation he used on Saturday – 4-4-1-1 with Steve Maclean as the sole striker.
Kenny Lunt may also get the nod in front of the transfer-listed Glenn Whelen, despite the Irish under-21 international impressing at Deepdale. Lunt has already been used as support for the sole striker in pre-season and may replace Chris Brunt, who is likely to drop to his usual left-wing role.
Player to watch: Steven Maclean
The former Rangers and Scunthorpe man will be relied upon to bag the goals for the Owls as they look to get their first win of the new campaign. The Scot will rely upon the service from midfield to recapture the form that saw him bag over 20 goals for the club in the League One promotion season.
Luton Team News:
The Hatters will be travelling up to Hillsborough on the back an impressive 2-0 victory over Leicester City at the weekend, and also with the news that boss Mike Newell has just put pen to paper on a new four-year deal at the club.
New signing Adam Boyd may get a first start for Luton after settling for a place on the bench on Saturday. Rowan Vine was partnered up front by Warren Feeney, but Newell may sacrifice Feeney for a first start for Boyd – a £500,000 summer recruit from Hartlepool United.
Defender Chris Coyne will be pushing for a starting place but may find it difficult to dislodge Leon Barnett who partnered Markus Heikkinen in the centre of defence and also bagged his first senior goal for the club.
The Hatters will be making the trip up the M1 with no fresh injury concerns.
Player to watch: Rowan Vine
The main man in attack for Luton after the £1m departure of Steve Howard to Derby County during the summer. Vine caused all kinds of problems for the Owls last time around, and will be another tough customer for Graham Coughlan and Madjid Bougherra to deal with.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 0-2 Luton Town
31/01/2006 – Hillsborough
As Wednesday battled bravely against a swift return to League One, Mike Newell’s men travelled up the M1 to show Sturrock how it’s really done. Vine and Howard ran the Owls ragged and the visitors found the breakthrough when Kevin Nicholls slotted home a penalty early in the second half. Rowan Vine then wrapped the game up with a second just four minutes later.
SWFC wins: 21
LTFC wins: 14
Wednesday: Jones, Simek, Bougherra, Coughlan, Hills, Bullen, Folly, Whelan, O’Brien, MacLean (Small 80), Brunt (McAllister 87).
Subs Not Used: Adamson, Lunt, Spurr.
Luton: Beresford, Foley, Davis (Morgan 73), Barnett, Heikkinen, Edwards, Robinson, Emanuel, Langley, Vine (Boyd 61), Feeney.
Subs Not Used: Perrett, Brkovic, Barrett.
-Taken from www.bet365.com-
SWFC win: 13/10
LTFC win: 7/4
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Crystal Palace v Southend
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Vs Leeds United (H) – 27/08/2006