The Premier League is finally back on the 11th August and with that in mind, we’ve done a season preview of every club and their chances for the upcoming season. Here, we’ve taken a look at Rob Edwards’ Luton Town.
Last season: 3rd (Championship)
Top Scorer: Carlton Morris (20)
Transfers In: Tahith Chong – Birmingham City (£4m), Mads Andersen – Barnsley (£3m), Chiedozie Ogbene – Rotherham United (free transfer), Issa Kabore – Manchester City (loan), Ryan Giles – Wolverhampton Wanderers (undisclosed), Marvelous Nakamba – Aston Villa (undisclosed), Thomas Kaminski – Blackburn Rovers (undisclosed)
Transfers Out: Sonny Bradley – Derby County (free transfer), Harry Isted – Charlton Athletic (free transfer), Jack Walton – Dundee United (loan), Elliot Thorpe – Shrewsbury Town (loan), Henri Lansbury (released), Carlos Mendes Gomes – Bolton Wanderers (undisclosed), Joe Taylor – Colchester United (loan)
First game: Brighton & Hove Albion (A)
After a fairytale rise from non-league football, how will Luton Town get on in their first-ever season in the Premier League?
The Hatters are incredibly short favourites for the drop, but Luton will take solace from the fact that none of the last four teams to make their Premier League debut went straight back down.
In recent years, clubs such as Sheffield United, Brentford and, last season, Bournemouth, have offered the blueprint to survival and Luton certainly offer the work ethic to meet the formula. Whether they have the quality is a different question.
Their promotion charge was built on a solid defensive foundation that conceded 42 goals in 46 Championship matches, although goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who was a critical part of that, has returned to Nottingham Forest after a loan spell at the club, which could prove to be a huge miss.
After Nathan Jones’ mid-season departure, the Hatters turned to Rob Edwards to steady the ship, and he did that and more, leading Luton from ninth place to third, ending the regular league season unbeaten in 14 matches, before overturning a first-leg defeat to Sunderland in the playoff semi-finals, and then holding their nerve by converting all six penalties against Coventry in the Wembley shootout.
Carlton Morris led Luton’s promotion push from the front last season, scoring 20 goals, and he looks like he has further to climb, akin to Ivan Toney and Callum Wilson. The former Norwich striker’s work-rate, hold-up play and heading ability were crucial in how the Hatters set-up tactically, and he finally has his shot at the big-time – don’t be surprised if the attacker takes the opportunity with both hands.
In terms of transfers, Luton have signed seven players this summer, the most important being a pair of new wing-backs, Ryan Giles and Issa Kabore. Left-back Giles recorded 11 assists on loan from Wolves at Middlesbrough last season, while right-back Kabore, arriving on loan from Manchester City, impressed at Marseille during the 2022/23 campaign.
Thomas Kaminski has arrived from Blackburn Rovers to take the place of the aforementioned Ethan Horvath, while former Manchester United Academy player Tahith Chong has been brought in from Birmingham City.
Finally, Marvelous Nakamba has made his loan move from Aston Villa permanent, and at the time of writing, it isn’t expected that Luton will spend much more in the market as Kenilworth Road is currently undergoing renovations so that it complies with Premier League regulations – an indication of how unexpected Luton’s promotion was.
Kenilworth Road will be a tough place to visit for opposing teams, and it could come down to the wire for Luton in terms of survival, but the template is there to follow.