After Sunday’s narrow victory over Middlesbrough extended their unbeaten league run to three matches, Rovers return to home soil against Luton Town this weekend.
Ewood Park welcomes back a Rovers side who have gone two weeks without a home fixture, with a midweek match up with Swansea City fell foul of ‘Storm Christoph’, with the state of the pitch under the spotlight.
The visitors arrive at Ewood Park on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Premier League side Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round, whilst they have just one win in their last eight league matches on the road.
We Meet Again…
Rovers’ record against the Hatters is one many supporters won’t want to consider, the Luton going over forty years without defeat.
Rovers did pick up a 4-0 win at Kenilworth Road back in 2007 in the FA Cup, but it is the visitors who have come out on top in the league over the aforementioned period.
The last meeting came back in November 2020, as Sam Gallagher’s strike cancelled out Luke Berry’s opener in an entertaining second half.Embed from Getty Images
The Ones To Watch
Experienced forward James Collins sits top of Luton’s goalscoring charts this season – scoring six Championship goals – and he has been a reliable figure for the Hatters throughout his time at the club, scoring 64 in 154 matches.
Midfielder Kieran Dewsbury-Hall, who is on loan from Leicester City for the season, has been involved in five goals this season (two goals and three assists) and has become an important team member under the guidance of Nathan Jones.
At the back, no player has won more aerial duels per game (3.4) than Sonny Bradley, and his presence is a welcomed one in the Luton back line.
After the important – and slightly unexpected – victory over Middlesbrough, I’m expecting Tony Mowbray to make just two changes.
Bradley Johnson (hamstring) will miss out, and I’d expect to see Sam Gallagher from the start due to his record of two goals in his last two matches against Luton.
Predicted XI: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Branthwaite, Douglas, Travis, Davenport, Rothwell, Elliott, Armstrong, Gallagher (4-3-3)
In terms of the match, Reading’s victory over AFC Bournemouth gives Rovers the chance to capitalise and reduce the gap between themselves and the play-offs with a victory.
We’ve struggled against Luton Town in recent years, but I’m expecting us to break the 40-year (or so) run without a league win.
Prediction: Rovers 2-1 Luton Town