Middlesbrough vs Luton Town match preview: Form, h2h and score prediction
Whilst the World Cup is still ongoing, and England are still going strong, Championship action returns this weekend with Luton taking on Middlesbrough. The Hatters travel northeast to take on Boro in Rob Edwards first game in charge. Although many fans have made complaints due to the date and time of the fixture, the game remains this Saturday at 3pm.
After a month away from action, the tie will be a test for both managers as Rob Edwards is in the dugout for his first game in charge, whilst Michael Carrick looks to make it five games without a loss in his first managerial job.
After six years, minus the break of Nathan Jones it will feel weird but also exciting to see somebody new at the helm. Since his arrival on the seventeenth of November, Rob Edwards has yet to manage a game due to the World Cup break splitting up the season. Although the month off could be a positive as it has given him some time to learn about his team, gel with his new players and work with his new squad, minus Tom Lockyer and Ethan Horvath of course.
Recently the camp returned from a training week in the sunny skies of Dubai, Jordan Clark said the trip to the Middle East was very beneficial. A snippet from Clarks interview-
"I think it was a really good idea as when it’s miserable over here, you just want to get off the training ground quicker than normal, but when you’re training over there and you’re around everyone 24/7, the manager can speak to people as long as he wants".
Obviously, the weather is always a bonus but the trip has appeared to have impacted the squad in a positive way and not just the fit players, but the injured members as well.
You can read the whole interview here: Luton News - Mike Simmonds
Hopefully, the positive vibes and bubbly energy around camp can be implemented on the football field this Saturday to help gain a first win under Rob Edwards. A win this weekend could see Luton go into the Championship play-off positions.
Middlesbrough's season didn't start off the way they intended as they relieved manager Chris Wilder of his duties after just eleven games of league action. Before the campaign began, high hopes were expected of Middlesbrough and Wilder ahead of the 22/23 season after he led Boro to a seventh-place finish last season. Although Wilder finished one place behind the Hatters, outside the playoff spots, his progress since his arrival in the middle of the 21/22 season was exciting and on the right track so Boro fans expected the ex-Sheffield United boss to reciprocate the same results this season. However, it didn't turn out that way and after just two wins in twelve games, including a cup loss, Wilder was shown the exit doors.
Since then Middlesbrough has appointed former Manchester United midfielder and coach Michael Carrick. With his first job in charge, Carrick has re-found the form Boro had last season and is hoping to get them back on track to a Premier League return. Middlesbrough fans haven't experienced top-flight football since their relegation in 2017, but many of their fans would argue that they should be there or at least pushing to be there- something which they haven't been doing in recent years.
Carrick's arrival has seen Boro defeat Hull, Blackpool and promotion favourites Norwich, whilst also picking up a point against Bristol City.
Players to watch out for
Riley McGree- Coming off the back of a great World Cup effort from the Socceroos, the Australian international could be ready to return as soon as Saturday due to the Aussies being eliminated in the round of sixteen by Argentina. McGree started all four games throughout their campaign and adopted many different positions as he played on the wing, in the centre of the park and upfront. After picking up an all-important assist in the Denmark game, McGree helped send Australia to the knockout stages for the first time since 2006. But before departing to Qatar, McGree recorded 3 goals this season and has been a key squad member for Boro, if he is back he will be a threat.
Chuba Akpom- A player who has been completely revitalised under Michael Carrick and who has stood out in his boss's first few games in charge. The attacker is currently on eight league goals this season, level with Luton's Carlton Morris and just one behind the top scorers. He has scored four goals in his last five games since Carrick arrived and picked up an assist along the way. Although he carried a knock against Norwich, he is fit as he played in a friendly against Hibs just last week- in which he scored in. He will cause Luton's defence some problems if they don't keep him contained.
Prediction- With the two teams being out for the last month and both having a chance to go into the playoff spots (or within touching distance) it will be a tie that both sets of players come into with an attacking mindset meaning for a few goals. Although Rob Edwards may not start with a win, he also wont begin with a loss:
Boro 2-2 Luton
Date- 10th December 2022
Venue- Riverside Stadium
Head to Head record (previous 8 matches)
Luton Town 3 wins - 2 draws - Middlesbrough 3 wins
Date Result Competition
15 Oct 1994 Luton Town v Middlesbrough W 5-1 League Division 1
30 Apr 1995 Middlesbrough v Luton Town L 2-1 League Division 1
02 Aug 2019 Luton Town v Middlesbrough D 3-3 League Championship
15 Feb 2020 Middlesbrough v Luton Town W 0-1 League Championship
16 Dec 2020 Middlesbrough v Luton Town L 1-0 League Championship
01 May 2021 Luton Town v Middlesbrough D 1-1 League Championship
02 Nov 2021 Luton Town v Middlesbrough W 3-1 League Championship
05 Mar 2022 Middlesbrough v Luton Town L 2-1 League Championship