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Luton Town 0 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 13th March 2021 Kick-off 12:15
Luton Town v Swansea City : Pre Match and Teams
Saturday, 13th Mar 2021 11:20

It’s coming round every three to four days and that’s another fixture in the EFL Championship. The early kick off is Luton Town v Swansea City ( LIVE on SKY Sports kick off 12.15pm) The hatters are looking secure points to stave off a very unlikely relegation, whilst the swans, in the box seats for the automatics to the premier league are scrapping for points to aid their cause.

Teams for today

Luton Town: Simon Sluga, Dan Potts, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Matty Pearson (captain), Harry Cornick, Pelly Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Kai Naismith, James Bree, Elijah Adebayo.

Substitutes: James Shea, Martin Cranie, Luke Berry, Glen Rea, James Collins, Kazenga Lualua, Sam Nombe, Joe Morrell, Tom Ince.

Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Kyle Naughton, Ryan Bennett, Joel Latibeaudiere; Connor Roberts, Korey Smith, Matt Grimes (captain), Conor Hourihane, Ryan Manning; Yan Dhanda; Andre Ayew.

Substitutes: Ben Hamer, Jay Fulton, Jamal Lowe, Wayne Routledge, Morgan Whittaker, Jake Bidwell, Kieron Freeman, Brandon Cooper, Ben Cabango.

The hatters are currently 12 points clear of the relegation zone, but suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Norwich City last weekend to bring to an end an unbeaten run of three matches. By contrast, Swansea picked up a massive three points after they converted a 97th minute penalty against Middlesbrough on Saturday, but suffered a minor setback in midweek when they dropped points in a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers. With a Lanza, Cornick and Adebayo all very determined and dogged players this fixture has a draw written all over it. However the swans have to seriously assess where they want to be come May, and to private a doing, even to their own supporters as it stands, they desperately need a good performance and three points.

Harry Cornick, one of Luton Town’s junior star men

Speaking in his press conference for this game swans manager, Steve Cooper said "It becomes more of test, to stay focused, to not let anything outside creep in," We understand that as the games get chalked off then certain things will intensify and increase but we've got to work even harder to continue to do what we do and what has got us into this place in the first place. "We're not going to change now, there's no need to. If we have to focus even more than we have done before then we have to embrace that. We said from day one this season, live in the moment, make the most of the opportunity," Cooper added. "I can't believe there's only twelve games go, it seems like yesterday we were playing Preston away for the first game of the season. That will continue until the end of the season, it will happen like that. So we need to make sure we are getting the most out of every single day."

On loan central defender Marc Guehi is rated as "touch and go" by Cooper for Saturday's match after suffering a groin injury whilst forward Paul Arriola will definitely miss out with a thigh problem. Most swans fans will now think that Ryan Bennett is due a return in the defence, but Cooper’s facial expression when asked that question wasn’t convincing, he didn’t give much away but if Bennett is fully fit I would be surprised.

Jamal Lowe was also spoken about by Cooper, and as he said - It's not just about the goals. "I understand the question, he's played more central than he's ever played before and this is a completely new role for him, and when you play there goals is something that's looked at. But it's not the only thing we look at. Do we want our players at the top end of the pitch to score goals? Of course we do, but we want them to do lots of other things as well and we're not going to be too narrow minded to not do that. "So, carry on. We're finding ways to win and get points. We have done all season without an out-and-out starting number nine and so we'll continue our work."

Lowe's lack of goals has coincided with ever-increasing concern around the levels of fatigue in the squad, although Cooper admits there may well be scope for some stars to recharge their batteries over the upcoming international break. "The international break, you have to use it wisely," he continued. "I think there's a chance to get a lot of things from it. If rest is one of the returns you can get from it, then great. "I think it's a chance to get some work done on the training ground and a chance to get some individual work done, a chance to revisit some of the principles. "I see the international break as an opportunity to maximise as opposed to a chance to down tools and we've always done that, and we'll aim to do that in the next one, but we've got three games to play and that has to be where our attention lies."

There is more to Lowe’s game than goals - Steve Cooper

The Swansea City penalty league interview with Iwan Roberts
When Iwan Roberts leaps to the defence of the swans it’s time to listen. “It’s made me quite angry the way people have been saying how Swansea are going to cheat their way to promotion after a couple of decisions have gone their way in the last couple of weeks, so I did a little bit of homework to fight their corner. Last season, Swansea were awarded four penalties in their 46 league games. This season they’ve been awarded five, four of which have been given since February 27th. So up until then they had been given just one penalty in their opening 30 games - that doesn’t smell of a team trying to cheat their way to promotion if you ask me”

Swansea’s five Championship penalties awarded means they are 10th in the league’s list. Topping that list with most penalties awarded this season are Norwich and Watford with nine each. Here is the top ten penalty league for the championship.

Penalties awarded – top 10
Norwich 9
Watford 9
Reading 8
Preston 7
Blackburn 6
Cardiff 6
Rotherham 6
Wycombe 5
Brentford 5
Swansea 5

While Swansea won one penalty in their opening 30 games Norwich were awarded nine in their opening 32 games. Watford, are equal top with nine, four of which have come in their last 12 games.

Neither club has taken the stick Swansea have lately

“The reason I’ve chosen my two former clubs to compare with Swansea is because most of the noise and abuse aimed at Steve Cooper’s team over the last couple of weeks has come from a handful of Norwich and Watford supporters and has been totally unfair in my opinion, especially when you look at the bare facts of things. I get the fact that the three clubs are fighting it out for automatic promotion - well, probably the Hornets battling the Swans for that second place. I just think people need to think a wee bit and maybe do a bit of research before hurling abuse at players from other clubs. Anyway, rant over!”

Fair point Iwan.

Nathan Jones Luton Town manager
“I know Neil Warnock mentioned something about Keith Cooper, who’s a friend of mine,” said Jones.NI’ve known Keith for years, who is obviously Steve’s dad, but it was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment. “I don’t think anyone purposely thinks, ‘it’s Swansea so we’re going to give them a penalty,’ but they’ve just had a bit of a fair wind lately, and that sometimes can happen. They’re a forward-thinking side, so they can create chances, but we hope we’re not speaking about Swansea getting any kind of penalty, let alone a harsh one. We’d like to get one of any description. “Sometimes the wind blows your way, but we’ll be hoping that no poor decisions are made by our players and anyone else in the stadium. But you can’t plan not to give a penalty away. You’ve just got to defend well and hope that the right decision has been made on the day.”

Nathan Jones knows only too well how good the swans are, and a fair wind blows

Well, for us Warnock’s persistent offending and intimidation is cowardly and gives the impression he has a few bolts loose to carry on like he does in public. His swearing, shouting, spitting, vile abuse, finger pointing and generally being an unprofessional screaming man child isn’t the mark of a stable mind or someone who processes information correctly.

It’s going to be another real tough game this weekend, we expect it to be much harder than Blackburn away, and with Bournemouth away on the horizon on Tuesday these away games are showing the swans no mercy.

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