In an ideal world for Luton, the Hatters would have secured their spot in the play-offs on Monday (or even earlier) but things appear to be transpiring against the Bedfordshire club. Nathan Jones’ side are riddled with injuries, seeming to have a new one every match, and having previously looked comfortable they go into the final game of the season needing a win to be sure of their place in the play-offs.
On Monday they made the short trip to London to take on Championship leaders Fulham, who were looking to seal the title having already secured their return to the Premier League. While a win will have been a tall order given Luton’s circumstances, some fans may have been hoping for a close game and potentially a draw. Instead they were thrashed 7-0, seriously harming their goal difference and making for a nervy end to the season.
Looking to spoil the Luton party are a Reading side who have nothing but pride to play for. Once a Premier League side, Reading have spent most of the season at the wrong end of the Championship table and they were only really saved from relegation by circumstances outside of football.
Had Derby not been deducted 21 points, Reading would be in the relegation zone with one game left to play. Even if you add the six points Reading were deducted, they would still be in the relegation zone on goal difference and fighting for their survival. But that’s all hypotheticals, as Reading are safe for another season and they will want to give their travelling fans something to cheer about at the end of the campaign.
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Although Luton will be missing their top scorer Elijah Adebayo, and they haven’t scored more than one goal in their past six Championship matches, Reading have a very welcoming defence. The Royals have conceded 86 goals in the Championship this season, with relegated Peterborough (87) the only team to have let in more.
Reading also have a problem in coming from behind. Paul Ince’s side have been losing at both half-time and full-time on 12 occasions in the Championship this season, their most common such result. At the same time, Luton have been winning at both half-time and full-time in 13 of their 45 Championship matches this season.
19 January 2022 – Reading 0-2 Luton – Championship
21 April 2021 – Luton 0-0 Reading – Championship
9 January 2021 – Luton 1-0 Reading – FA Cup
26 December 2020 – Reading 2-1 Luton – Championship
15 September 2020 – Reading 0-1 Luton – EFL Cup
Luton have enjoyed their games against Reading in recent years, winning three of the past five minutes, including a 2-0 victory at the Madejski Stadium in January. If the Hatters avoid defeat on Saturday, it will be their longest unbeaten run against Reading since 1980 when they went 14 games unbeaten (a run spread across 44 years).