Mid-table Luton and Millwall lock horns for Tuesday night's live televised action from the Championship. Mark O'Haire sets the scene.
"Considering the low-scoring nature of the two teams on show, plus Millwall’s penchant for stalemates, the draw holds the most appeal"
Luton v Millwall
Tuesday February 23, 19:45
Jones irked by Luton display
Luton manager Nathan Jones branded his side's error-strewn display as 'inept' as they were hammered 3-0 at Stoke on Saturday. The Hatters, who have so often been rock solid and hard to beat on the road, failed to show any of those qualities in Staffordshire, and were fortunate not to suffer a defeat by a wider margin, such was the Potters' dominance.
Speaking afterwards, an angered Jones said: "We were miles off. It was probably our worst performance I've ever had as Luton manager so I'm very, very disappointed. We lost every single battle. They were better than us a in every single department. The leaders, the strong ones that I like to rely on, were nowhere near today and we didn't do the basics right."
Town made four changes to the side, with Tom Lockyer and Matty Pearson missing out through injury, Danny Hylton and Kal Naismith dropping to the bench. In came James Bree for the first time since the FA Cup defeat at Chelsea, plus Martin Cranie, Harry Cornick and Jordan Clark. But one shot on target was all Luton could muster in a forgettable afternoon.
Millwall share the spoils, again
Millwall boss Gary Rowett refused to be too downbeat despite seeing his Millwall side held to a 0-0 draw against rock-bottom Wycombe at The Den on Saturday. The Lions had won three consecutive league games coming into the weekend, but didn't really do enough to deserve to make it four wins on the spin in a scrappy game of few clear-cut chances.
The draw for the Bermondsey boys was their 15th from their 31 league outings in 2020-21, with the result leaving the capital club seven points off the play-off places. However, Rowett was pleased to see his team extend their recent unbeaten streak to eight games, whilst suggesting the poor state of the pitch may have hindered his side's progress on Saturday.
Rowett said: "It's four draws and four wins, another clean sheet. I actually felt today might be the banana skin game that might undo us in such a good run of three wins on the spin. It was a game where we had most of the control, I'm disappointed with the quality we showed on the ball but I'm not overly disappointed with the point."
Luton haven't enjoyed recent meetings with Millwall, posting a solitary success and seven losses in 11 league encounters with the Lions dating back to the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign (W1-D3-L7). The Hatters suffered a 2-0 defeat in the reverse back in October and have managed one win in eight at home ties against Millwall since 1996 (W1-D2-L5).
Luton 2.829/5 were expected to be embroiled in the Championship relegation battle but Nathan Jones has guided the Hatters into the safety of mid-table. The Bedfordshire boys have proven a tough nut to crack, even if the majority of their better results have come against the lesser lights. The hosts have posted W3-D2-L13 against the top-13 this term.
Millwall 2.9215/8 manager Gary Rowett's position appeared under threat last month but the draw specialists have started to turn some of their tight tussles into triumphs to move into the Championship's top half. The Lions have shared the spoils in 15 of their 31 outings, as only the top four in the division have suffered fewer defeats than the visitors' tally of seven.
Goals have been a relative rarity when Luton have been involved. The Hatters' tight-knit ship has seen just 1.90 goals per-game on average across the club's 30 league fixtures thus far as 22 (73%) of those tussles paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.564/7 backers. Meanwhile, only nine (30%) encounters have seen Both Teams To Score 1.824/5 backers collect in 2020/21.
It's a similar story when Millwall have been involved. Games involving the Bermondsey club average only 1.84 goals with 22/31 (71%) producing a maximum of two goals, although the Lions' away days have tended to be slightly more adventurous.
Considering the low-scoring nature of the two teams on show, plus Millwall's penchant for stalemates, the draw holds the most appeal here at 3.2011/5.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 106.00 pts
Returned: 112.32 pts