Grant McCann's Hull City side travel to Luton Town to face last season's League One title winners, aiming to secure a return to winning ways in the Championship.

Philip Buckingham’s prediction: Attack the best form of defence as City face free-scoring Hatters

Plenty has changed since Hull City last crossed swords with Luton Town in March 2007. One has seen the riches of the Premier League, a FA Cup final and European football, the other has sunk to the grim depths of the National League.

The two clubs have lived in different worlds in those 12 seasons but they meet again very much as equals.

Just a point splits Luton and City after the opening seven games of this season and, with due respect given to their opponents, both will be targeting this contest for a big victory.

Hull City head coach Grant McCann arriving at The Den ahead of clash against Millwall

City certainly need one. That 2-1 win over Reading on August 10 is starting to feel like a long time ago for Grant McCann and his men and the subsequent missed opportunities will have chipped away at belief.

Six points from a possible 21 is not the start McCann envisaged making but he still sees chances to make up for lost ground ahead of the next international break.

Facing a team promoted from League One last season is one of those but Luton are not to be underestimated.

The resurgent Hatters have scored 196 goals since the start of the 2017-18 season, a total only surpassed by Manchester City. The vast majority came in either League Two or League One but 12 goals netted this season shows that attacking instincts are in the club’s DNA.

City have shown their own bold approach under McCann and it promises to bring fireworks.

Luton Town 2 Hull City 2

 

Luton team news

Full back Brendon Galloway is a doubt for Luton Town after picking up an injury in a development fixture in midweek.

Galloway is yet to start a Championship game for the Hatters since arriving on a free transfer in the summer but played the final half hour of last weekend’s 3-2 loss at QPR.

The 23-year-old might have been pushing for a call-up but he suffered a strain of his patella tendon on Tuesday and is now a concern.

Martin Cranie is edging closer towards regaining fitness after missing the last four games but forward Danny Hylton is still some weeks away from a comeback. The 30-year-old has not played since the end of March.

Graeme Jones does have a number of options should he wish to freshen up his side, including Elliott Lee, George Moncur and Jacob Butterfield.

Former City youngster Sonny Bradley will captain Luton up against his boyhood club.

Possible XI (4-3-1-2): Simon Sluga; Luke Bolton, Matthew Pearson, Sonny Bradley, James Bree; Andrew Shinnie, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Izzy Brown; James Collins; Harry Cornick, Kazenga LuaLua

 

Hull City team news

Reece Burke, Dan Batty and Stephen Kingsley are all fit to return to Grant McCann’s plans after shaking off injuries that ruled them all out of last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Wigan.

Burke and Kingsley have both overcome hamstring strains, while Batty has recovered from ankle ligament damage suffered in the Carabao Cup tie at Preston North End last month.

Reece Burke of Hull City was forced off injured against Millwall

All three will come into contention to face Luton, along with Josh Magennis, who returns after a one-game suspension.

Jon Toral remains absent with the hamstring injury he suffered in the Millwall game before the international break and McCann has revealed he will be forced into a change from last weekend.

The City boss kept his cards close to his chest over who has suffered the latest setback but knows the fit-again players returning have been offset by the loss of another.

New signing Norbert Balogh is again set to be overlooked as he strives to find match fitness.

Possible XI (4-3-3): George Long; Eric Lichaj, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs, Callum Elder; George Honeyman, Kevin Stewart, Jackson Irvine; Jarrod Bowen, Tom Eaves, Kamil Grosicki

 

The Key Battle: James Collins v Reece Burke

Luton Town’s back-to-back promotions owed much to the goals of James Collins and he has shown little sign that a rich vein of form will be cut off in the Championship.

The forward has already netted four goals to add to his 45 in the previous two campaigns, making the former Aston Villa rookie the dangerman City have to shackle at Kenilworth Road.

The Tigers are yet to keep a clean-sheet in the league this season under Grant McCann but the likely return of Reece Burke should boost those prospects.

The Londoner is arguably City’s most gifted centre-back and missed last weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to Wigan with a hamstring injury suffered at Millwall. His partnership with Jordy de Wijs could be crucial.

 

Luton overview

These are golden times for Luton Town after spending five years in the wilderness of non-league football. Last season’s climb out of League One was the club’s third promotion since 2013-14  and now they’re back at a level they called home when last meeting Hull City back in March 2007.

The Hatters were superb when racing to the League One title last season ahead of Barnsley, Charlton Portsmouth and Sunderland and they’ve already shown signs they can hold their own in the Championship.

Sonny Bradley of Luton Town
Former Hull City defender Sonny Bradley is part of a Luton Town squad targeting upsets in the Championship

Graeme Jones’ side have notched seven points from their first seven games, including big wins away to Barnsley and at home to Huddersfield.

Only bottom club Stoke have conceded more goals but the 12 Luton have scored puts them behind only Bristol City and Preston in the division’s top scorers. Survival, though, is very much the sole aim.

Betting

Three whole divisions used to stand between these two clubs as recently as 2014 but the bookmakers are leaning towards the team that has worked its way up from the National League. Luton are the 6/5 favourties (Bet365) to pick up a victory at Kenilworth Road, with Hull City available at 12/5 (Sportpesa) to find their first away win in the Championship since March.

The draw can be backed at 11/4 with Betway. It is hard to imagine this being a low scoring game so the 13/8 (Spreadex) on their being over 3.5 goals will have its backers. Over 4.5 at 19/5 (Paddy Power) also catches the eye.

Luton hot-shot James Collins heads the first scorer market as short as 7/2 but Jarrod Bowen at 13/2 (Unibet) is the better call. Tom Eaves scored at Kenilworth Road last season and he’s 14/5 (Unibet) to finally break his duck for the Tigers in this game.

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