The Hatters travel north today for their fourth game in the Sky Bet Championship, aiming to record their first league victory of the season when they take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
It is the second time this calendar year that the Town have been to one of English football's traditional arenas, having drawn 0-0 in the FA Cup third round last January while still a League One club, in what proved to be Nathan Jones' last game in charge.
Mick Harford was in interim control by the time the Owls visited Kenilworth Road ten days later for the replay, and only a fortuitous Atdhe Nuhiu goal, which took a hefty deflection off Town skipper Sonny Bradley, proved the difference between the sides as the Hatters more than matched a team bossed by Steve Agnew, while would-be manager Steve Bruce was on holiday in the Caribbean.
Bruce arrived home and steered the Yorkshire outfit to 12th place, before controversially leaving in the summer to take over at Newcastle United, with Lee Bullen taking over as caretaker for a second time - just as he had prior to the Hatters' visit last season.
With the Hatters now under the guidance of Graeme Jones, both sides are finding their feet after managerial changes but the Town travel with confidence despite suffering successive defeats to promotion tips Cardiff and West Brom - both by 2-1 scorelines - after an entertaining 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough on the opening weekend.
Performances have deserved more than that one point, which sees them start the game in 21st position level with Boro, Huddersfield and Stoke, while victories in their opening two games against Reading and Barnsley - before Saturday's 1-0 loss at Millwall - have Wednesday in sixth place at kick-off.
If you’re not making the journey to Hillsborough, make sure you buy a £10 match pass to watch the game live on iFollow Hatters with Simon Pitts’ live commentary and the enhanced four-camera coverage making it a superb substitute for the real thing!
GRAEME JONES SAID:
On the Saturday-Tuesday schedule in the Championship: "I don’t want to make excuses, because I can talk about Middlesbrough, about Cardiff, West Brom - they’re a difficult opponent, they weren’t easy. But I don’t think about the schedule, I just think about the next game, who we’re facing, let's be competitive again, let's see if we can improve again, and if we improve again, we’ll start taking more points. But at the beginning, I asked us to be competitive in every single game, and we have been. We've been in every single game and we’re still finding out things. We’ve still got three new signings who haven’t started in a Championship fixture yet - Brendan Gallloway, Kazenga LuaLua, so we’re still working towards something, but as long as the improvement’s there, and then that improvement turns into points, then I’ll be happy."
On facing Sheffield Wednesday: "They play 4-1-4-1, a really aggressive press, they are really well organised. I know Lee Bullen from our days in the Scottish Premier League. I used to play against him – an aggressive centre-half. They know how to defend and they can hurt you on transition. They’ve got Fletcher up front, obviously with the direct ball, which gets them up the pitch. Hillsborough is one of the unique environments in British football, so all these things, all these variables, we have to deal with them and that’s why everybody wanted to be in the Championship. It’s my job to prepare the group and make sure that they are psychologically, physically and tactically prepared for the game, and we will be."
On Owls caretaker boss Bullen: "Lee took over last Christmas period and had a fantastic run of results. He’s a good man, Lee, and was very unfortunate not to get the job. Again, he’s shown in the first three games how competitive he is as a coach and how competitive the club is. It’s a huge football club. I was a Newcastle supporter and I remember the team going to Hillsborough and there were 48,000 people there. It’s a great football club and we went there last season in the FA Cup, so it’s not on unfamiliar territory and I hope it’s a game that we are all looking forward to."
On the benefit of that FA Cup third round tie at Hillsborough last January: "Culturally there is going to be no shock. I think those type of things in the Championship help. We are all better for experience and hopefully that’ll be the case tomorrow."
A club with such a rich history, Sheffield Wednsday nearly made a Premier League return both in the 2015/16 campaign and the following year, missing out both times as they were defeated in the play-offs. They spent eight consecutive seasons in the top tier, before suffering relegation in 2000. Their slump continued and they have had spells in League One. They have won the FA Cup on three occasions, the most recent of those was in 1935, whilst they were runners up in 1993. The Owls have opened their second tier campaign with two wins seeing them top of the early table, before going to by a solitary goal at Millwall on Saturday to leave them sixth after three matches.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Kick-off is at 7.45pm at Hillsborough on Tuesday 20th August.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE?
David Webb will take charge of the game at Hillsborough. So far this season the Lancashire official has refereed Wigan v Cardiff and West Bromwich Albion against Millwall, issuing nine yellow cards over the two fixtures. He is still to brandish a red, but last season he sent off five players in his 34 matches, showing yellow on 102 occasions.
Tickets are now off-sale from the LTFC ticket office but Sheffield Wednesday have agreed that Hatters fans travelling to Hillsborough can pay on the night. These turnstiles will be cash only and they will open from 6.30pm. Please note that there will be no Under-5s prices available on the day, however, and all Under-11s will be £10.
65 and over: £20.00
Town have taken on Wednesday on 59 occasions, our last being a 1-0 defeat against them in January this year in the FA Cup third round replay at Kenilworth Road, following a goalless draw at Hillsborough. Of those 59 games, the Hatters have won 16 times, drawn 21 and lost on 22 occasions.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
The main blow-by-blow account of the action from Hillsborough will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website, which you can access by clicking here. (*Please note that the club's Live Text will appear only by accessing through an internet browser, users of the Luton Town FC app will receive updates from Opta)
The main moments from the game will appear on the Hatters' social media feeds:
Twitter – @LutonTown
Facebook – www.facebook.com/LutonTown/
Instagram – www.instagram.com/ltfc_official/
WATCH LIVE ON IFOLLOW HATTERS
As ever, Simon 'Statto' Pitts will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here.
For midweek matches, supporters in the UK and Ireland can watch the live stream along with overseas viewers. To do so, click here to purchase a £10 match pass so you don't miss a kick!