There is one match for us to enjoy in the Sky Bet Championship on Bank Holiday Monday and it is a big one for the two sides involved as Luton Town make the trip to the capital to take on the champions elect Fulham.
The Cottagers will be able to remove the elect part from their title with a win here while a draw will make it almost a certainty that they claim the title. Luton go into the match needing a win to secure a play-off spot while a point would mean they need just one more point on the final day of the campaign to extend their season.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football channels with the short build-up beginning at 5pm before the kick off at Craven Cottage at 5.15pm.
Fulham know that whatever happens here and at Sheffield United on Saturday that they will be a Premier League club once again but you couldn’t exactly say they are finishing the season like the dominant force they have been throughout the campaign. They only have one win in their last five matches and have lost three of those games. They will still be the champions but you would imagine they would want to seal the deal in style and receive the trophy in front of their own fans here.
The Londoners have been the best team in the competition by a distance but like a lot of sides they have plateaued a bit since promotion was confirmed. They have had enough time for that to sink in now though so we should expect to see them close to their best here. They need one more goal to break the 100 goal barrier for the Championship season which might be something which inspires them in this final game if winning the title isn’t enough.
What a season this has been for Luton Town. Nathan Jones has done an amazing job at Kenilworth Road and has rightly been crowned the Championship manager of the season. He won’t want to end the campaign with that accolade alone though. He will now have his sights firmly on guiding the Hatters up to the Premier League in what would be one of the greatest sports stories of all time should he achieve it. Two points from their final two matches will give them a shot at promotion.
If you were one of those who thought Luton were in a false position and wouldn’t last the pace the time for that has disappeared. They are fifth in the table on merit. They are defensively solid and often find the back of the net at the other end of the table and no team in the division has picked up more points in 2022 than them. Luton have lost just one of their last eight and will be looking to maintain that form not just to make the play-offs but carry confidence into them.
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Marco Silva has suggested that he will have a fully fit squad to choose from for this final home match of the season which means that Championship player of the season Aleksandar Mitrovic and nominee Harry Wilson will both be available.
Luton will give a debut to Matt Ingram between the sticks after the Hull stopper joined on an emergency loan on Sunday after regular keeper James Shea suffered a season ending injury over Easter. The Hatters will also be without Gabe Osho, James Bree, Luke Berry, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Elijah Adebayo while Sonny Bradley is a doubt. Jordan Clark could return.
This isn’t the easiest match in the world to bet on. Fulham are obvious favourites but Luton tend to match up well to them when you consider they have drawn two of their three Championship meetings and only lost the other 3-2. I’m not sure I’d want to be backing a Fulham side at 4/7 who have dipped alarmingly since they secured promotion though, especially against a team who will be looking for something from this match. My hunch is that a draw suits both which makes it hard to bet on.
I’ll pick out a value play for those who will be watching on who want a bet on the game though. Kal Naismith has plied his trade in the heart of the three-man defence for Luton this season but with all their injury problems the versatile man will likely be situated in the centre of the Hatters midfield for this match. Even when at centre-back he likes to get forward and get a shot away as Sky viewers would have seen with his cracking winner against Bournemouth earlier in the season. Just two weeks ago he scored a penalty on TV too and with Elijah Adebayo missing might well be the Luton penalty taker here too. He is 11/2 to have a shot on target and with his technical ability as such that he can test the keeper from distance, in a game where Luton won’t see much of the ball they might rely on the Scot to fire one from range. That 11/2 looks very big especially as he’s the likely penalty taker.
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