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  • Writer's pictureOliver Kay

3 centre backs from League 1 that would be good additions to the Luton Town backline

It’s a common gripe that from the Luton Town fans that we are currently looking light at the back. The general consensus is that Potts, Lockyer and Burke are a good centre back trio for use in our preferred 3-4-1-2 system, however, with matches coming thick and fast, legs being unable to do multiple 90 minutes a week and the inevitable injuries that will hit, it’s a requirement that Luton Town get reinforcements in at the back. When one of our preferred trio dips out the first XI, we leave ourselves very exposed. Currently we are reliant on James Bree slotting in at right centre back, sacrificing his creativity on the right wing going forward and Doughty having to move to the right wing which removes his potency on the left wing. In terms of back ups we have Gabe Osho before the inevitable breeshuffle takes place, and as reports indicate, we may not have James Bree for too much longer, which means we will lose his versatility to slot in the back line. Here are three centre backs from League 1 that we could sign.

Lucas Ness – Charlton Athletic

Lucas Ness is young, has big potential and since breaking into the starting lineup at Charlton Athletic has put in some very solid performances. The latest batch of recruits that Dean Holden has snatched up from the academy and entrusted with first team football have really shown what trust from a manager can do for your confidence, just look at Miles Leaburn with 6 goals and 2 assists since being given a starting spot.

Ness was on loan at Torquay in the National League last season, linking up with former Hatter Aaron Jarvis, where he got his introduction to senior football. Since breaking into the team this season, Charlton have played some heavy hitters in League One (including Barnsley 2-0 win, Peterborough 1-1 draw and Portsmouth 3-1 win), and in the EFL Cup. In the 0-0 draw with Brighton where he played on the left of a back three, he made 10 clearances, completed 70% of his passes and made two passes into the final third. This was a game where Charlton were under the cosh from an impressive Brighton. In total this season (6 league games – small sample size) Ness has posted an average of 82% pass accuracy from 300 attempted passes, averaging 50 passes a match. He also has 36 clearances, 14 headed clearances and 9 interceptions. Since coming into the team, Charlton have conceded on average 1 goal per game, as opposed to 1.5 goals per game. Hey, the last centre back we got from Charlton wasn't so bad.

Ronnie Edwards – Peterborough United

Ronnie Edwards has been hyped up a lot in the media, with athletic describing him as a defender that can quarterback a team, along with an extensive scout report, he also made the EFL 21 under 21 list from Not the Top 20 podcast. However, Darren Ferguson has insisted that there is no pressure to sell for Peterborough, but with the Posh sitting 9th in League 1 and the division looking harder and harder to get out of with each passing year, it’s likely that Ronnie Edwards may see it’s time to take the next step.

This would be the complete opposite of an under the radar signing, as he’s been linked to Premier League teams, including Tottenham, although his performances this season have shown that he is by no means the finished article and use a few seasons in the Championship to sand down the rough edges and start realising his potential. It’s also likely that due to the hype surrounding Edwards that Darren MacAnthony would have put a hefty price tag on him, especially when it’s become well known that Peterborough will always hold out for the most money possible. Edwards’ stats so far this season from 19 games played; 82% pass success rate, 66 clearances, 28 headed clearances and 19 interceptions. It's important that Ronnie Edwards doesn't buy into his own hype, seeing as he's been part of a Peterborough team that got comfortably relegated from the Championship and only putting up a fight when it was too late, and is now struggling to get into the playoffs in League 1.

Ricardo Santos – Bolton Wanderers

Ricardo has been on my radar for a long time, since Bolton played in League 2 he has shown him quality, and it was a very shrewd free signing from Barnet. Considering he had a difficult time with Barnet being relegated from League 2 into the National League, he more than stepped back up with Bolton having been named in the EFL League 2 Team of the year in 2020/21 and then the EFL League 1 Team of the year in 2021/22. Ricardo is 6’5’’ and very good in the air as his stature suggests, but he is also capable with the ball at his feet. He primarily plays in the middle of the back three so he needs more capable ball playing defenders on either side of him, these simple passes allow him to maintain an average pass success rate of 78%. His stats so far this season in 18 games; won 71% of his tackles, 63 clearances, 37 headed clearances and made 26 interceptions. With Bolton now sitting in the League 1 play off places, it’s unlikely that they would want to sell being in such a good position to get back into the Championship. However, should Bolton fail to succeed with their attempts to get promoted, Ricardo is certainly a defender that would be a good addition to the Luton Town squad.

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