It all comes down to Wednesday for the Hatters
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but watching a must-win game on your phone while at work is not ideal, especially when you work in retail and customers want to complain about every little thing. That was my life on Saturday morning as I got an early shift for the first time in months (go figure) and Luton Town faced off against Hull City in the EFL Championship. Luckily my fellow managers and employees understand my love of the beautiful game and helped me out whenever possible, although I’m sure the scream of jubilation coming from the office when Kazenga Lua-Lua fired home to give Luton a 1-0 win scared quite a few.
It’s the hope that will kill me… remember!?! Well, it’s getting to that point were on Wednesday when we play our final game of the season at Kenilworth Road every kick of the ball will be utter agony. Not to mention I’ll be keeping tabs on Charlton, Birmingham, Middlesborough, Wigan, and Sheffield Wednesday. Ultimately it should be in our own hands and a win against the former Premier League Champions Blackburn Rovers should keep us in the EFL Championship for another year, especially with Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday facing possible points deduction, but we are Luton Town and we know it’s never that easy. Especially not for us.
In theory, we are currently outside the dreaded drop zone due to Wigan’s current situation. Having entered administration at the beginning of the month the club have been told they will receive a 12 point deduction as a penalty, but are appealing the decision. Luton fans, who have been vocal about the Football League’s fit and proper test for owners being a shambles, will rightly point to the 30 point deduction their club incurred during the 2008/09 season that ultimately led to their relegation from the Football League for the first time in the club’s history and ask how this is any different? Wigan fans on the other hand will be hoping the Football League takes a detour from their previous decisions and squash the points deduction.
While that decision will hopefully be made before Wednesday’s games kick-off, Luton will know that beating Blackburn is the only way to keep the pressure on everyone around them. Charlton is ahead of Luton only by goal difference and face newly crowned Champions Leeds United, while Middlesborough and Birmingham are both two points ahead and face Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County respectively. A Luton win means all three teams must not lose and in Charlton’s case, a win is imperative.
Unfortunately for Luton their home form since the season resumed has been anything but spectacular and are still awaiting their first win after draws with Preston, Barnsley, and Queens Park Rangers, while also suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat against Reading.
On Wednesday night none of that matters. All that matters is the 90 minutes against Blackburn who have nothing to play for except pride. You could say the same about Leeds though. Luton however will be hoping that’s not the case. Instead, they will be hoping the already crowned Champions feel the need to celebrate their return to the Premier League after 16 years away by putting a beat-down on former player Lee Bowyer’s Charlton.
The players, however, need to put all that out of their mind and focus on the task at hand. It took game-changers (Nathan Jones doesn’t call them substitutes so neither will I) to swing the balance in our favor against Hull City, who we all but relegated, and results against Leeds and Swansea proved we are not scared of bigger clubs. It will take those game changers and the fearlessness we showed against those two bigger teams to get the result we need.
If all that comes together on Wednesday Luton should be spending another season at the dizzy heights of the Championship. If not, it will be back to League One where we came from. While I will be actively rooting and screaming for the former, as a Luton fan I’m well aware the latter is a possibility with this club. That’s what makes games like this so exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.