Ex-Town midfielder Pembridge backs Luton to beat former side Derby
Hatters are tipped to continue impressive away form
Former Luton midfielder Mark Pembridge is backing the Hatters to continue their fine away form this season at another of his old clubs, Derby County, this afternoon.
Town head to Pride Park on the back of successive wins against Coventry City and Preston North End ahead of the international break.
The 1-0 triumph at Deepdale was Luton’s seventh victory on the road this term, all by the same scoreline, ensuring they hit they the 50 points mark, to virtually secure safety with nine games still remaining.
Pembridge, who left Kenilworth Road for Derby back in 1992 after playing 70 times for the Hatters, County shelling out £1.25m for his services, said of the contest: “Luton don’t concede many goals away from home these days, so if they can sneak a 1-0 win that would be good.
“They’ve done fantastic, especially with the start they had.
“They had a really good start and if they didn’t have that you’d think they might be a bit like Derby, but they’ve dug in away from home, got some great results recently too beating Nottingham Forest.”
Following a campaign in which the Hatters stayed up by the skin of their teeth, requiring a final day success over Blackburn Rovers to ensure survival, Pembridge has been impressed with the manner of their follow-up efforts in the second tier.
He continued: “Luton had a fantastic start to the season, dropped off a little bit and now they’re picking up the odd result here and there which is good.
“They’ve steadied the ship after the middle part of the season and hopefully they can finish quite strong.
“You look at they just survived last year, they did fantastic to get out of it and this season is a little bit more steadier, so hopefully they can build on this season again.”
A huge reason behind Town’s climb out of the bottom three last term was the return of manager Nathan Jones, who masterminded their against the odds escape.
Pembridge, now joint U23s head coach at Premier League Fulham, said: “I’ve come across him when he was interim manager at Brighton, I was first team coach at Fulham and he’s from the same town as me in Merthyr Tydfil.
“He’s done fantastically well for them, the system they play, with the diamond, he’s obviously put a lot of work in for them to know what they’re doing which is really good.
“As if you get it right it’s very difficult to play against, if you don’t get it right then you can be running all over the place.”
For Derby though the season has not gone as planned, as following a terrible start under Phillip Cocu, they sacked the Dutchman in November, with the Rams sitting bottom of the table.
He was replaced by England legend Wayne Rooney, who took over officially in January after deciding to hang up his playing boots.
The Rams initially improved to move out of the drop zone, but a seven game winless run, means they are only five points clear of safety.
Pembridge was confident they would stay up though, adding: “Wayne has gone in there and steadied the ship.
“I know Wayne from my Everton days and Liam Rosenior as well, who was on the playing staff when I was at Fulham, so I know them quite well.
“They’ve looked at it when they’ve first gone in and probably gone, ‘let’s get a couple of results, let’s survive and then put this season to bed and start off fresh next season.’
“They’ve done that, they’ve picked enough results up and will pick enough results up to stay up.”