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Preview: Luton Town v Blues

It's a difficult place to go. They have 15 points at home, six away, it is a stronger team at home.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Luton Town and Blues at Kenilworth Road (3pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on his players using the win against Blackburn as a springboard heading into the Luton game...
"Coming from Blackburn this has given a lot of confidence to the squad because I think we did a very good game. In the FA Cup they put a very strong team out and we were playing with ten men. We are very much of the mentality of building from that win, trying to get a win at Luton and trying to leave the bad run we had behind us. We are very aware we haven't performed during Christmas time or got the points that we wanted to have. I think the fact we had injuries to our two centre-backs after the Reading victory has had a big part to play. Now we have Jake Clarke-Salter back and we are going to have Marc Roberts back next week as well so we are very confident a win against Luton will put everything behind us and we can look forward to getting another good result at home (against Cardiff) and setting our focus into as high a part of the table as possible."

Pep Clotet on how pivotal the game is against Luton, who are currently bottom of the Championship...
"If we lose the game, Luton will still be in more trouble than us and there will still be two other teams who would swap positions. Our focus and mentality we are not thinking on that, we are thinking about building on Blackburn, putting two wins in a row and progressing. We know the importance of those three points, and we want to put wins together, look forward to the next game and climb up the table."

Pep Clotet asked how important it was that his players had the right mentality during the second half of the season...
"It's the most important thing for any football team in any situation at any time. We do have a very strong culture and mentality here. I have been working with them for almost two years, they have been working for longer, well before me. They created a very strong culture here and when it comes to the second part of the season that pays a dividend because the games become more difficult and every point is a little bit harder to attain. That’s when strong teams come together and those who have been playing together for longer has a little bit of an edge."

Pep Clotet on what he was expecting from Luton...
"It's a difficult place to go. They have 15 points at home, six away, it is a stronger team at home. They play an open game which favours them a lot. Their fans know how difficult it is to keep Championship status, they know they are in for a long season and they are backing a team with a lot of energy, youth and quality that is strong in set plays. Graeme Jones is doing a fantastic job with them and they are going to be very difficult at their place. The ground has some characteristics we take into account when we prepare our game plan. It is going to be difficult to get control because of the way they play, the ground - and we need to see how the pitch is as well because they have had a lot of games on it. I am expecting a tough game but that doesn't mean I don't trust our strengths, actually I am really trusting our strengths."

Blues team news...
Ivan Sunjic will miss the game as he serves out a one-match suspension after receiving a straight red card in the FA Cup Third Round victory over Blackburn Rovers. Lukas Jutkiewicz, Kerim Mrabti and Jude Bellingham are all back in contention after being rested for the cup game. Pep Clotet is hoping to have Marc Roberts (ankle) back in time for Blues' home game against Cardiff in just over a week. Long-term absentee Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) is slowly being reintegrated back into training.

Luton team news...
Isaiah Brown, Brendan Galloway and Danny Hylton are sidelined through injury.

Last five meetings between Luton and Blues...
Championship 26 Oct 2019 Blues 2 Luton 1
Championship 29 Dec 2006 Blues 2 Luton 2
Championship 14 Oct 2006 Luton 3 Blues 2
Division One 13 Apr 1996 Blues 4 Luton 0
Division One 18 Nov 1995 Luton 0 Blues 0

Total meetings between Luton and Blues...
Luton wins: 12
Draws: 19
Blues wins: 29

Form guide last five games...
Luton: LDLLL
Blues: LDLLW

Line-ups last game...
Bournemouth v Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Sluga, Pearson, Jones, Daniels, Sheehan (Bree 77), Rea, Butterfield (Berry 68), Shinnie, Moncur (Bolton 68), Cornick, Lee.
Subs (not used): Shea, Tunnicliffe, Mpanzu, Collins.

Blues (4-2-3-1) v Blackburn Rovers: Camp; Colin, Dean, Clarke-Salter (Harding 69), Pederson; Gardner (Sunjic 57), Davis; Montero (Bela h/t), Crowley, Maghoma; Gimenez.
Subs (not used): Harding, Medina, McEachran, Bailey, Trueman (GK).

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to International Subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. For more details about BluesTV, click here.

Match officials...
Select Group referee Graham Scott will take charge of Saturday's game at Kenilworth Road. So far this season the Oxfordshire-based official has refereed 16 games, where he has produced a total of 53 yellow cards, four reds, and two awarded penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Middlesbrough in January 2019. Blues lost that match 2-1 and there were three players cautioned; including Maikel Kieftenbeld and Che Adams for the hosts. He has refereed five Blues game to date; with Blues winning three of them and losing two. The last Luton game that he refereed was their Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Bristol City in October 2019. Luton won that game 3-0 and there were four players booked in total; including Ryan Tunnicliffe and Pelly Ruddock for the hosts. He has refereed five Luton games to date, with The Hatters winning two of them, drawing two and losing one. Mr Scott will be assisted on Saturday by Neil Davies and Ian Cooper, with Darren Drysdale acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Blues have sold out of our full allocation of 1,032 tickets for this game.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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