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Three to watch: Luton Town

ON the back of the R’s FA Cup defeat to Fulham, Mark Warburton’s side's attention turns to the re-arranged trip to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town.

After the previous clash with the Hatters was postponed due to COVID-19 issues, the short trip to Bedfordshire was re-scheduled for this evening, giving the R's the perfect opportunity to seal a vital three points later on tonight.

Following last weekend's defeat in the cup Rangers will be keen to record a victory and have been given an extra boost following the return of former star Charlie Austin.

Whilst in contrast the Hatters have recorded some impressive victories, including a 1-0 victory over Reading last time out, securing their place in the fourth round of the cup.

Back in the league some impressive form has seen Nathan Jones’ side sitting in a comfortable 14th place, only seven points off of the final play-off position, but more importantly 11 points off of the dreaded drop zone.

Luton who were promoted from League One in 2019, survived an instant return to the third tier in dramatic fashion last season. With Jones’ side able to claw themselves out of trouble on the final day of the extraordinary campaign.

Having secured 8 victories from their first 22 games, tonight's clash will no doubt be another tough one for Warburton’s men.

In recent years this tie has somewhat favoured the R’s, with Rangers having only tasting defeat once in the last six meetings between the two.

www.qpr.co.uk have decided to take an in-depth look at three key Luton men to watch out for this evening. 

James Collins:

Former Shrewsbury Town striker, James Collins has become somewhat of a household name at Kenilworth Road following his move to the Hatters in 2017.

An experienced Football League striker, Collins hit the ground running in Bedfordshire notching 20 goals in his first full season for Town. These strikes helped Luton clinch the League Two title and started the journey up to the SkyBet Championship.

An impressive 25 goals the following year, helped secure the Hatters back-to-back promotions. As well as being named League One’s Player of the Year, Collins form was recognised by his national side and was soon called up to the senior Republic of Ireland squad – scoring on his international debut against Bulgaria in 2019.

Upon Luton’s return to the SkyBet Championship, Collins liked many for Town has adapted to life at a higher level. With 15 goals last season including strikes in both clashes with the R’s, ensuring that his goal scoring powers continued.

Collins leads the goal scoring charts once again this season for the Hatters, with his nine strikes helping lift Luton into a respectable 14th place.

Glen Rea:

Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Glen Rea has become a key figure in Luton Town’s side following his switch from Brighton and Hove Albion in 2016.

Initially on loan, Rea made the move permeant in June 2016 and has gone on to make over 120 appearances for the Hatters. As well as playing a part in their two promotion winning sides, which saw them rise all the way from League Two to the Sky Bet Championship.

After suffering a bad knee injury, Rea eventually had a short spell with Woking to help aid his recovery. Before going on to make 14 Championship appearances at the tail end of last year, a period which saw Luton maintain their league status on the last day of the campaign.  

Rea has featured in all but two games this season and his 2 goals and 2 assists has ensured that he has a pivotal role to play in this Luton side.

Simon Sluga:

Croatian goalkeeper Simon Sluga broke Luton Town records last summer with his €1.5 million move from HNK Rijeka smashing the Hatters previous transfer record –set in 1989.

The 6ft 3 stopped made a name for himself with in his native land with Rijeka, winning both the domestic league title and Europa League in 2017.

Having been capped for his national side, Sluga arrived at Kenilworth Road with a big reputation and after a difficult start a reputation he lived up to.

An impressive six clean sheets already this season, added to his six from last year has helped see Luton consolidate their position in the SkyBet Championship and his performances in the Hatters backline will no doubt continue to help Nathan Jones’ side.