Who Are Ya?: Luton Town

Last updated : 17 October 2006 By Peter Bulkeley
The Gameplan
Luton play a simple easy to understand 4-4-2 formation. Style of play is very much attacking when we can - away from home we do attempt to be a little bit tighter and try to grind out results instead, but Newell will still make sure the team try and win the match rather than settle for a draw. Our form away from home is much worse than at home as well, probably due to our inability to defend well at times.

On our day, we are very strong going forward, particularly down the wings with Lewis Emanuel and Carlos Edwards crossing balls in, and sometimes the full-backs. That isn't to say we aren't bad at going through the centre and creating chances either. We also have a brilliant centre-back in Heikkinen and a superb prospect in Leon Barnett partnering him. Rowan Vine, Carlos Edwards and Lewis Emanuel all have the ability to score spectacular goals out of nothing as well.

Under pressure, our defence is very likely to crack for some reason. This may be down to the absence of a defensive midfielder since Nicholls left. We also have the knack of not taking a lot of chances we create for ourselves - although we often score spectacular goals we very rarely seem to score ugly, simple goals, and there aren't many players in the first eleven who Luton fans would trust with one-on-ones.

Long term injuries are Chris Coyne, who is always having problems with his knees, and Paul Underwood. They are both major losses, but we have coped so far this season without them so we won't feel the loss too much. Brkovic may also miss out, but again he has rarely featured in the starting eleven so shouldn't be missed too much. Left winger Lewis Emmanuel is out with illness. Steve Robinson and Carlos Edwards are also doubtful.

Predicted Starting XI
Goalkeeper - Marlon Beresford: Experienced goalkeeper who gives a lot of assurance to the defence. Played a bigger part in our title-winning season than most give him credit for, although he is making more and more mistakes now. May be his last season as our No. 1.
Left-back - Sol Davis: His trademark move is his right elbow into the opposition winger's face or putting the winger into the stands whenever he is beaten. Which isn't very often, although he was poor against Birmingham on Saturday.
Right-back - Kevin Foley: Does his job quietly and very well in defence, although he is sometimes a problem in defence and can be shaky. Better when pushed forward, which isn't often at all.
Centre-back - Marcus Heikkinen: Consistent, and brilliant. Player of the Year last season, Luton haven't got another player of his calibre. Also partners Sami Hyypia for Finalnd.
Centre-back - Leon Barnett: The biggest prospect at Luton currently, but he has to start cutting out some of his silly mistakes, which he is starting to do. Could be another Curtis Davies in the making.
Left winger - Dean Morgan - Is either brilliant or useless. Recently he has been brilliant, although not the player you want to hold a lead at the end of the game. Defensively poor as well.
Right winger - Carlos Edwards: Has loads of pace and our counter attacks usually start through him. Ability to cross and head the ball questionable at times, but his crosses are improving, as is his shooting this season. Another who works hard attacking and defending.
Centre midfield - Steve Robinson: Stand in captain for the injured Chris Coyne, Robbo is maybe the most under-rated player we have. Goes about his job consistently and quietly, the only query may be about his stamina as the season goes on, as he is nearing the end of his career.
Centre midfield - Richard Langley/David Bell/Steven O'Leary: Langley usually plays here, but has been rubbish and uninterested this season, so O'Leary took his place on Saturday. He was better, but not quite good enough really, though his work rate is miles better than Langley's (not saying much). Substituted in last game for David Bell, who had an exceptional game when he came on and scored the winner for us. May mean he gets the nod ahead of Langley and O'Leary, but we are yet to really see what he can do for us.
Striker - Sam Parkin: He hasn't adjusted to playing at Luton yet, scoring just once this season. The team also have to realise that he is not a direct replacement for Steve Howard - despite his height he is not a player who holds the ball up well, and his heading is poor for someone of his size.
Striker - Rowan Vine: Has been in the form of his life this season, with 8 goals already. Definitely our dangerman along with Carlos Edwards, his control has significantly improved and can score goals out of nothing - most of his goals seem to be spectacular goals, although his two at the weekend weren't. Hull's chances of keeping Luton quiet could rest with how they deal with Vine.

Probable Substitutes
Brill - sub goalkeeper, young prospect who should succeed at Luton.
Feeney - the substitute forward that can't score goals. Nevertheless, his work rate is exceptional.
Keane - Will probably start in place of Edwards if he doesn't make it. Questionable running style - one leg possibly longer than the other. Ability sometimes questionable as well.
Langley/Bell/O'Leary - see above.

Peter Bulkeley is editor of Luton Town Mad