Both of these pages are unchanged, which makes sense. Both managers are happy with these arrangements of what they have available.
Let’s have some teams…
Luton Town (3-5-2): Horvath; Osho, Lockyer, Bell; Drameh, Ruddock, Nakamba, Clark, Doughty; Morris, Adebayo. Subs: Shea, Potts, Berry, Burke, Campbell, Onyedinma, Taylor.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Patterson; Roberts, Hume, O’Nien, Gooch; Neil, Ekwah; Diallo, Pritchard, Clarke; Gelhardt. Subs: Bas, Lihadji, Ba, Anderson, Michut, Alese, Huggins.
Oh man, how can you not love the playoffs. Games divided by days not a week, a whole year of work on games and wildness almost guaranteed. It doesn’t happen often, but the football authorities do, on occasion, make decent decisions – but let’s be real, if the side who finished fourth bottom of the Prem were in this fight for survival, this would be even more exciting.
Luton are a ridiculous story, in the Conference as recently as 2013-14 after a 30-point deduction for financial irregularities – by owners who should never have been allowed to buy the club – sent them down in 2008-09. Since then, however, they’ve been gunned down by bad owners and returned to the family ethos that served them so well in the 80s, steadily improving to get to this point and still play in their division’s smallest, most archaic ground. They expect to move up this season but if they don’t they plan to do so soon..
Sunderland, meanwhile, a Premier League club in all but name, were only promoted to Championship last season – ending a Wembley hoodoo in the process – and will be as surprised as they are delighted to find themselves in this position. And for that, credit must go to Terrknee Merrbrehy, who not only has the best name to say in a Northeastern accent, but has carved out a team of youthful intensity and innocent enterprise that’s impossible not to enjoy. If they don’t step up now, they could run away with it next season
Saturday’s first leg was a hugely enjoyable affair, Luton the better side early on and well deserving of their early lead, just as Sunderland more than deserved their eventual 2-1 win. Given their lack of defenders though, there’s every chance the home side will overturn the deficit … but given their abundance of strikers, they’re just as likely to put away the equaliser. This is going to be great.
Kick-off: 8pm BST