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Preview: Blues v Luton Town

It was tough for them at the beginning of the league, but I think it has settled, the side has improved, and they are in for a very good season in the Championship, which is unbelievable for the club.

Pep Clotet

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Blues and Luton Town at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on how pleased he was to see both defensive and attacking aspects of his side come together against Blackburn on Tuesday...
"We’ve done a lot of work to improve our defensive game, but I thought we needed to get more shots off, and we did that without going away from being solid as well. We just want to win the ball as high as possible now and it’s paying off for us because it allows our players to establish their football a little bit higher up the pitch. Overall I was very pleased with the performance and result against Blackburn and the fact that we keep a clean sheet."

Pep Clotet asked if he was looking to freshen his side up on Saturday...
"I checked the data; I have meetings with the medical staff and physical trainers and our performances are showing that our physical level is higher than last season. But that’s due to the football we are forcing ourselves to play. Our recovery levels are good, so I am not expecting anyone not to be able to play because of that. We had a rest day yesterday, a recovery today, tomorrow we will see, probably I will wait until the last minute to do the final plan."

Pep Clotet asked what areas he is looking for side to improve on in the next quarter of the season...
"I want our team to have a little bit more control with the possession for us to attack. We’re not a team that looks for 60 per cent possession for the sake of having 60 per cent possession. I want them to confident and brave enough to make mistakes. We need to break that fear and we need to try and impose ourselves. Obviously, it’s demanding for a team, but this is what we want to do, and we’ve got to work very hard. This season if we manage to develop this style of play that we all want and owners are so keen on having, we’ll be very satisfied."

Pep Clotet on what he expects from Luton...
"I think Graeme Jones (the Luton manager) is doing a really good job with them, they are a positive club on the way up from League Two. They had a really good season last season in League One, they are a very untouched squad that has played together for a lot of years and with a positive attitude. They are trying to do positive football. I know Graeme Jones a lot, he was working at West Brom last season, so we spoke a lot when we were playing them. Before he was at Swansea and we have a lot of friends in common and he was working with Roberto (Martinez). Graeme loves the kind of football that I like as well, so I do respect that. He has a side that is taking a few risks and he manages them very well and they are getting a lot of points. It was tough for them at the beginning of the league, but I think it has settled, the side has improved, and they are in for a very good season in the Championship, which is unbelievable for the club. I do respect what Graeme is doing there."

Blues team news...
Midfielder Ivan Sunjic is available to play after serving out a one-match suspension against Blackburn earlier in the following his accumulation of five yellow cards. Gary Gardner is sidelined for several weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery earlier this week. Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) remains out until at least early next year.

Luton team news...
Glenn Rea (knee) and Danny Hylton (knee) are the only Luton players reported as unavailable.

Last five meetings between Blues and Luton Town...
Championship 29 Dec 2006 Blues 2 Luton 2
Championship 14 Oct 2006 Luton 3 Blues 2
Division One (old) 13 Apr 1996 Blues 4 Luton 0
Division One (old) 18 Nov 1995 Luton 0 Blues 0
Division One (old) 19 Mar 1994 Luton 1 Blues 1

Total meetings between Blues and Luton...
Blues wins: 28
Draws: 19
Luton wins: 12

Form guide...
Blues: LLWLW
Luton: WDLWL

Line-ups last league game...
Blues (4-4-2) v Blackburn Rovers: Camp; Colin, Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Villalba, Bellingham (McEachran 62), Davis, Crowley (Maghoma 73); Mrabti (Gimenez 79), Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Harding, Clarke-Salter, Bailey, Stockdale (GK).

Fulham v Luton (4-3-3: Shea, Bree (Bolton 70), Pearson, Cranie, Bradley, Potts, Tunnicliffe, Mpanzu, Brown, Cornick (LuaLua 78), Collins (McManaman 78)
Subs (not used): Sluga, Shinnie, Jones, Butterfield.

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to International Subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. Commentary will be provided by Jonathan Bell and Dele Adebola, with Dale Moon and Darren Purse in the studio. For more details about bluesTV, click here.

Match officials...
Dean Whitestone will take charge of Saturday's game. So far this season the Northamptonshire-based official has refereed nine games, where he has produced a total of 27 yellow cards but no reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our EFL Cup away fixture at Reading in August 2018. Blues lost that game 2-0 and there were three players booked in total; including Gary Gardner and Josh Dacres-Cogley for the visitors. He has refereed seven Blues game to date, two of which we have won, one we have drawn and four we have lost. The last Luton game he refereed was their League Two home fixture against Wycombe Wanderers in December 2015. The Hatters lost that game 2-0 and the hosts' Ollie Lee was the only player from either side cautioned. He has refereed nine Luton games in total; three of which they have won, three they have drawn and three they have lost. Mr Whitestone will be assisted on Saturday by Robert Merchant and Mark Russell, with Jonathan Hunt acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
This is a grade b fixture and tickets are on general sale. For prices and purchasing details, click here.

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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