Feature

Who are key men leading Luton's promotion push?

By Mike Simmonds 24 May 2023
Nakamba, Lockyer, Luton

Luton Town reporter Mike Simmonds looks at Hatters' main men ahead of the playoff final

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Ahead of Saturday's Championship playoff final, Luton Town reporter Mike Simmonds profiles some of the key figures in their quest to become the 51st club to play in the Premier League.

Manager: Rob Edwards

It's been quite the season for the 40-year-old who left Forest Green Rovers in the summer after winning League Two to join Luton’s fiercest rivals Watford.

Despite initial promises of being backed "through hell or high water", he lasted just 11 matches in total before being sacked by the Hornets, but he wasn’t out of work for long, taking over at Kenilworth Road once Nathan Jones had departed for Southampton in November.

Rob Edwards, Luton

Although he lost his first contest at Middlesbrough, he soon had the fans on his side with a reign that has been nothing short of magnificent, masterminding the Hatters to 14 wins from his 25 league matches in charge.

Edwards also enabled them to win their maiden EFL playoff match when defeating Sunderland in the semi-final second leg and is now determined to be the first Luton manager to lead them to the top flight since David Pleat in 1982.

Tom Lockyer (DEF)

It’s crazy to think the Wales international wasn’t even in the team at the start of the season. Not selected in the opening four matches, the defender finally got his chance in a 2-0 away win at Swansea and simply hasn’t looked back since.

Playing in the centre of a back three, the 26-year-old has become a firm crowd favourite and after delivering some magnificent displays, his efforts at Blackpool living long in the memory, was deservedly named in the Championship Team of the Year.

Tom Lockyer

He has also become a threat at the other end for the first time in his career, scoring three goals in his last four outings, his most prolific spell thus far.

Marvelous Nakamba (MID)

The Zimbabwe international was brought in on-loan from Aston Villa in the January transfer window and he is already being talked about as the best loan signing in the club’s history.

Playing the holding role to a tee, the former Vitesse Arnhem and Club Brugge midfielder has solidified the Hatters and proved to be just the signing they needed to push on for the playoffs, barely conceding any goals in open play when he has been on the pitch.

Nakamba, Luton

With his own song to the tune of the Tequila by the Champs, Town fans would love to see him back as a Luton player in the top flight next season.

Carlton Morris (FWD)

Town’s top scorer was brought in for a club-record fee by the Hatters in the summer to add what was seen as the final piece of the jigsaw. Although not prolific at his former clubs, the ex-Norwich City youngster scored a terrific solo goal for Barnsley against Luton at Kenilworth Road last year which alerted the attention of former boss Jones.

He was up and running on his fifth appearance with a fine finish against Swansea and has taken off since then.

Carlton Morris, Luton

Capable of scoring from anywhere on the pitch, with any part of his body, Morris has netted close-range efforts, long-range strikes, headers, right foot, left foot and even a penalty too.

All of which has seen him become the first Luton forward to score 20 goals in the second tier since the legendary Brian Stein back in the 1981/82 season, when the Hatters coincidentally last won promotion to the top flight.

Luton News sports editor Mike Simmonds has covered the club home and away for over a decade. @LutonNews_LTFC

Also in this series

Part 1: Coventry's long road to the playoff final
Part 2: Coventry's key men
Part 3: How Luton fell far and rose high again

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