The squad face their toughest test of the season to date as we head to Kenilworth Road…
Darren Ferguson may have been dismayed by the performance last time out but the 2-0 win over Newport was the side’s fifth in six games and has put us into the heady heights of 2nd place going into this weekend’s clash with the Hatters. Optimism is creeping back in to the Rovers fanbase but the more level-headed among us have been keen to stress the difficulty facing us in the next few games.
Four of our five league wins have come against sides currently in the bottom five places in League Two but the shape of the table is still fairly irrelevant at this early stage. Luton pose a significant threat, but have been beaten in their last two games falling from the top of the pile to the edge of the play offs, and momentum is something that always matters in football.
Unlike recent opponents such as Newport and Yeovil, Luton will attack us and do possess quality throughout the team, most notably up front with summer signing Danny Hylton netting five goals already this season, among them an impressive hat-trick against Wycombe. Hylton has stated his belief that Luton are capable of winning the title this year so the aim is clear for both sides.
Rovers though have their own 5-goal forward with a treble under his belt this season, and the battle at opposite ends of the field between Hylton and Andy Williams will be something to keep an eye on if you’re travelling down south on Saturday, Williams on target again along with James Coppinger in the victory against Newport to take the Reds past Luton as League Two’s top scoring team of 2016/17 so far.
Frazer Richardson should return at right back to relieve Matty Blair from the unfamiliar role, although the attacker has done very well deputising there in the past two games. Mathieu Baudry is also close to featuring but will not be rushed in by Fergie, nor will Paul Keegan or Gary McSheffrey although all played a part in a midweek friendly at Cantley Park.
This is our first meeting with Luton since 2008, and we are unbeaten in four matches against them although all four of these games came in League One in the last decade and are our only clashes since 1970.
One to Watch
Hylton may be the main target man but young midfielder Cameron McGeehan could be the game-changer in this one. McGeehan has notched four goals and two assists himself in a promising start to the campaign, and has attracted attention from bigger clubs in recent months. He is also a former U21 international team mate of Rovers defender Luke McCullough, although surprisingly quit the Northern Ireland team citing a change of heart regarding his nationality.
With several injured players not far from returning, now is the time for those in the line-up to earn the right to keep their place. That means a stellar performance is needed from Harry Middleton, replaced after an hour in each of the last two games, with the soon-to-return McSheffrey threatening to take his place and Riccardo Calder also keen to impress from the bench.