This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…
Football League World’s Luton Town fan pundit, Dylan Bhundia has spoken out following the departure of a key duo ahead of the Hatters’ timely return to the Championship.
James Justin left the club in favour of a move to Premier League side, Leicester City, whilst Jack Stacey moved to Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth.
Bhundia isn’t confident heading into the new season after their departure, and labelled it as a ‘massive blow’.
“Losing both Stacey and Justin before the new season is a massive blow. Both players offered unbelievable quality down both flanks last season and played a crucial role in our promotion.
“With Nathan Jones and Mick Harford favouring a midfield diamond, the onus was on our two flying full-backs to provide all of the threat from wide areas, something that they did with unbelievable consistency.
“Both players fully merited their moves to the top flight, and will be sorely missed.”
But the Luton fan pundit is keen to see one player in particular step up to the mark next season in place of Justin, who will leave a sizeable void in the Hatters’ defence.
“Dan Potts, who started the season at left-back ahead of James Justin, is certainly a Championship quality player if he can stay fit, shown by Wigan’s reported attempt to sign him last summer.
“Aerially he’s a threat from set-pieces and whilst not offering the attacking quality of Justin, he’s aggression, physicality and resolve are certainly attributes that will be crucial if we are to be successful this season.”
It’s set to be an interesting few weeks ahead at Luton, as they look to build a squad capable of matching the standard required in the Championship next term.
Bhundia stressed the urgency in which they need to sign a right-back, as they are currently short in depth in that area of the squad heading into pre-season.
“A right-back to replace Jack Stacey is an absolute necessity. Our only current first-team option there is new signing Martin Cranie, who certainly does not offer the attacking threat that Jack Stacey carried.
“Alternatively, academy youngster Josh Neufville started there at Saturday’s pre-season outing against Bedford, and whilst looking assured, he isn’t ready to start regular games in the Championship.”
The Luton fan pundit is predicted a tough season ahead with Justin and Stacey, but is remaining optimistic that his side can retain their status as a Championship club.
“It’s going to be very, very tough. After a decade of the club being in constant promotion mode to get ‘back where we belong’, we are now no longer a big fish in a small pond.
“I know many fans are touting a top-half finish, however, I can see us being embroiled in a relegation battle.
“The togetherness and resilience of the squad was there for all to see last season, and I think that is what will get us over the line.”