clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Leeds United's EFL Cup Trip to Luton Town: Time, TV, lineups, preview

The Whites hit the road for the second time in a row in the EFL Cup. Can Leeds add to their first league win and top the Hatters?

Luton Town v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League Two
First a fish thing at Fleetwood, now this creepy b*stard... the EFL Cup sure has given us some nightmare fuel.
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Kenilworth Road. It's about as traditional as football grounds can get. Squashed in between shops, roads and row-upon-row of terraced houses, some fans of Luton Town barely have to walk five metres from their front doors to reach the turnstiles. In fact, so compact is the ground, that Leeds fans will tomorrow be forgiven for thinking they've entered a private home as they pass through the gate that is built into a line of houses on Oak Road.

The capacity of this unique venue trickles just over the 10,300 mark, with 1,500 of this being made up by an ever-loyal travelling horde of the Whites faithful. Like many other Championship and Premier League sides however, Leeds will be no stranger to playing in front of smaller crowds and less elaborate surroundings in the early stages of cup competition. Make no mistake though, this lower-league side relishes these ties - isn't that right, Aston Villa?

All Aboard the Momentum Train

Monk has been reiterating in every post-match press conference of his desire for the team to press on and improve with every game, and that it will come. Well, the lads have improved, and it has come... somewhat. While praising the turn in performances, the gaffer hasn't neglected the need for constant improvement. Couldn't argue with that, Garry.

While Saturday's satisfying win over Sheffield Wednesday was something we all needed, it's what happens next that counts; how we keep on getting stronger and building. Tomorrow night's game in Bedfordshire is by no means a gift, and although the draw could have thrown out an arguably more difficult tie on paper, Monk and his players must show caution.

Luton currently sit two divisions below Leeds in League Two, but promotion for the club is very much the main effort this season. Since coming up from the Conference National in 2013/14, largely down to an exemplary season from one Mr. Andre Gray, Luton have narrowly missed out the playoffs and finished in respectable positions in the final league table.

It's imperative Leeds build on Saturday's win, not only to avoid the embarrassment of being knocked out of the cup by lower-league opposition, but to shape the future of the season - this game could provide a turning point, for better or worse.

What's Going to Change?

What could be a concern for Leeds going forward is the lack of depth in the squad. We all know that games, especially in the early stages of the season, come thick and fast, and with Leeds playing two games per week at the moment, any injury or suspension could prove an issue.

That being said, Leeds have only this game and the clash with Nottingham Forest at the weekend before the international break, which will no doubt come as welcome rest from the frenetic start to the campaign.

In his press conference this morning, Monk alluded to the upcoming break to proceedings and it seems he won't be using the game at Luton to rest too many key players and is taking it just as seriously.

It would be hard to argue that Forest isn't realistically more important in the long run for Leeds at this stage, but a win tomorrow would definitely keep things ticking along nicely heading into the clash at the County Ground. Let's hope that the lads come away from tomorrow's match unscathed.

Leeds looked much more accomplished on Saturday than they have in games gone by, and Hadi Sacko was a constant thorn in the Wednesday defence. Sacko terrorised and should have no problems doing the same again tomorrow night against lesser opposition. He may not get a full game, but it would be hard to overlook him playing some part at least.

While it won't be a silent night at the back by any means - it's Leeds United we're talking about - it could prove a good opportunity to play a slightly varied defence. Pontus Jansson will be keen to get going at Leeds, and we're all eager to see what he can bring to the table. Provided he is match-fit, it could be a chance to partner him at the back with Kyle Bartley, and see how they get on. Monk needs to forge a consistent centre-half combination and tomorrow could be an extra "free" opportunity to trial it.

Liam Bridcutt provided the calming influence in the middle of the park that we needed. It seems as though he had only left for a while, and had every intention of coming back - he looked right at home in the engine room. He lasted the full game on Saturday, but Monk may look to top the tank up slightly and give him another lengthy run-out.

The main change may come between the sticks. Monk has said the Marco Silvestri has been performing well in training and is still in the frame at the club. It will be interesting to see whether Rob Green will make way for either the Italian or Ross Turnbull.

Luton the Party Spoilers

The Hatters removed Aston Villa from the competition last time out, winning 3-1 and coming from behind, and they'll be up for the challenge again tomorrow when Leeds come to town.

The pitch itself at Kenilworth Road is relatively small, with the stands being very close to the playing surface. It will mean Leeds will need to play neat, intricate football and pass their way forward; it's not an ideal pitch for a long ball game.

The likes of Hernandez, Mowatt and Phillips will be looking to get on the ball and make things happen, and will hopefully be given the opportunity to play with a bit more flair and freedom.

Luton, like Leeds, have been through many ups-and-downs throughout their long history, and the fan base is very proud of their club and where they once were. Leeds can expect an atmosphere tomorrow.

Head-to-Head

Luton and Leeds have only met five times in the last ten years. The last meeting was in the 2007/08 League One season, a 1-1 draw on an away day for Leeds. The two meetings previous, Leeds nicked both 1-0 at Elland Road.

Form

Leeds' slight redemption in the league makes for better reading on the record pages, with LWLDW over the last five games. Unbeaten in two, let's make it three.

Luton have made a solid start to their season, wins over Plymouth, Aston Villa and Newport sandwiching a draw with Yeovil. A defeat at the weekend to local rivals Stevenage was the first loss of the season for the Hatters.

Leeds Player to Watch

It will be interesting to see how Liam Bridcutt can continue to provide bite to the midfield. His control over the pace of the game both going forwards and in defence is a huge asset, and the younger lads can learn a lot from him. Tomorrow may offer the opportunity for him to completely run the game if Monk starts him.

Luton Player to Watch

Luton have a variety of attacking talent, many of which have been at the club a season or two, but Pelly Ruddock is the driving force of their midfield. Bearing "Mpanzu" on the back of his shirt, Ruddock is a powerful runner with the ball and isn't afraid to make things happen. The former West Ham player keeps Luton ticking over, and Leeds will have to keep tabs on the number 17.

WHAT

Luton Town vs. Leeds United

EFL Cup Round Two

WHERE

Kenilworth Road, Luton

LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds

WHEN

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT

WHO

Leeds United’s possible lineup

Silvestri, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Vieira, Bridcutt, Sacko, Mowatt, Doukara, Wood

Luton Town’s possible lineup

Walton, O'Donnell, Potts, Cuthbert, Gray, McGeehan, Hylton, Cook, Marriott, Ruddock, Lee

ODDS

Luton 21/10

Draw 5/2

Leeds 7/5

PREDICTION

It's important we win this one. We need to keep the belief in the squad and go into Saturday full of confidence. 0-2 Leeds, with Sacko and Mowatt on the sheet.