I won’t lie, it’s still weird for me to see Luton Town entering the FA Cup at the third round. After years of playing further down the English football pyramid, it’s more familiar to be starting in the first round and having to work our way through. I won’t complain though, especially with this season’s third-round clash with fellow EFL Championship side Reading. More than anything a nice cup run could help fill the coffers after the hit taken by the COVID pandemic.
The two teams have already met this season in the EFL Cup which Luton won 1-0. Before that Luton had failed to win in their last three meetings, including a 5-0 thumping at Kenilworth Road back in July. The Hatters have also hit a rough patch in the league that has seen just one win in the last five games.
Cup games are always different though. As a return of fans starts to happen in areas of England this week, there is a hope a cup run could help rebuild the finances hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Luton is one of the many clubs that could use this especially with a new stadium in the works.
While Reading at home is not the glitz and glamor of Manchester United, who Luton played in the EFL Cup, it is very much a winnable game. That then opens up other possibilities. It also gives a few players who have been on the fringe a chance to impress as Nathan Jones likes to rotate during cup games.
Unlike Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, who last season made a mockery of the FA Cup after drawing with Shrewsbury, most teams realize the prestige the competition holds. This year more than most the real winners won’t be who hoists the cup at the end but those smaller teams who are still around next season thanks to a cup run and the financial impact it has. Luton isn’t necessarily in that bracket thanks to a board that runs the club well, but the finances will help in keeping the forward moving momentum of previous years going.
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