On Friday night, Luton Town kick off the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign with a home clash against Middlesbrough, in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
It is shaping up to be another enthralling season in the second tier, with Luton looking to carry on their momentum after winning the League One title last season, and Middlesbrough hoping for a fresh start under new boss Jonathan Woodgate.
Luton will also have a new face in their dugout too. They have had said goodbye to interim manager Mick Harford, with Graeme Jones coming in and looking to make his first stint in management count.
Over the course of pre-season, Jones has been a busy man – the former West Brom and Everton assistant manager has been putting his side through their paces, as well as bringing new faces into Kenilworth Road.
The Hatters’ main aim for the forthcoming season will obviously be to cement their place in the division, but with the right mix of experience, quality, and the core of the squad that performed so well last term, there is no limits for the Bedfordshire outfit.
Here, we take a look at the starting line-up that we expect to see from the home side on Friday night…
Last season, Luton stuck with a diamond formation throughout – Jones will obviously come in and bring new ideas to the squad, but it is expected that he will stick with a similar sort of formation on Friday night.
In goal is a no-brainer – the Hatters completed the club-record signing of shot-stopper Simon Sluga not too long ago, and he looks destined to make his first appearance for the club tomorrow.
In defence, Sonny Bradley and Matty Pearson are likely to partner each other after forming a solid defensive partnership last term, and at right full-back, versatile defender Martin Cranie is also expected to start.
It’s all to play for at left-back, with Dan Potts looking to force his way into Jones’ plans, but we expect new signing Brendan Galloway to start against Boro.
Luton have a plethora of talented options in the middle of the park, but the experience and knowhow of Ryan Tunnicliffe means that he should be a starter on Friday night.
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu will also be looking to start in the more box-to-box role, and latest signing Jacob Butterfield could also prove to an important player, but Andrew Shinnie is likely to get the nod instead.
Up top, it’s all about getting the best out of James Collins, who scored 25 goals in all competitions last season. Playing in behind him looks set to be Elliott Lee, with natural winger Callum McManaman looking to play alongside him and create space for him up front.