Hatters boss wants a 'ruthless' display in the FA Cup at Wigan
Luton boss Rob Edwards has targeted a ‘ruthless’ display from his side when they travel to Wigan Athletic for their FA Cup third round replay this evening.
The Hatters should really have got the job done in the first game earlier this month, but despite having over 70 per cent possession on the day, only had Harry Cornick’s first goal of the season to show for their domination, when being held to a 1-1 draw.
In fact, the Latics might well have won it, Ethan Horvath making a terrific late save from Tom Naylor, as the visitors also had goal ruled out in stoppage time.
Following a run of conceding 12 goals in three games, Wigan have tightened up under new boss Kolo Toure, breached just twice in two matches, the Luton game and a 1-1 draw with Cardiff on Saturday.
The former Liverpool and Man City defender is still yet to taste victory from his seven games in charge though, having left a position at Leicester City to take a first step on the managerial rung, as Edwards said: “We’re expecting similarities to the last game when we played against them.
"It will be difficult to break that down but that’s when we’ve got to be at our best, speed the game up at the right time, try to move numbers forward and be ruthless at that end of the pitch.
“Against us and Cardiff, they went to a back five and changed from a back four.
"Then two 1-1 draws so they’ve tightened their team up from what they did previously.
“We’re ready and we know the areas we want to try and improve on if it does go that way, but there are no games of football that are exactly the same, and there are no three games of football that are ever the same.
“We have to make sure we’re right, concentrate on our game and be ready to adapt and change anything during the game as well which you have to do whoever you’re playing.”
Town rotated their attacking options for the clash at Kenilworth Road, with Cauley Woodrow and Harry Cornick starting, the latter glancing home an equaliser in the first half.
Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo were both given 45 minutes apiece, so with another trip to Wigan this weekend, and both forwards scoring in the 3-2 defeat to WBA on Saturday, it gives Edwards a selection dilemma.
He continued: “Cauley and Corns both scored very recently as well, so it’s great to have the strikers in confident mood.
"Whoever we select, we know they’re a real threat for us, which is always very good.
"It gives you a lot of confidence.
"You don’t want to be going into a game thinking we’ve got to keep a clean sheet today because of that.”
Wigan have been busy in the transfer window ahead of the clash, bringing in former Liverpool and Spurs defender Steven Caulker on a free transfer, plus Arsenal youngster Miguel Azeez and Slovan Liberec midfielder Christ Tiehi on loan until the end of the season.
None of the trio are available to play in tonight’s tie having not been signed before the first game took place, meaning Edwards wont have to consider them until the weekend’s return trip in the Championship.
Speaking on Monday, he said: “I don’t think any of those players they’ve signed can play in the game.
"I think there’ll be some changes for the weekend, perhaps, but they’re not eligible for tomorrow’s game.
“So, I’ll have to think about that later in the week, but we’re expecting a similar team for tomorrow’s game.
“The next game is the most important game, and that’s it.
"The bottom line is that we want to win both, but all our focus is on tomorrow now.”
With a home game against League Two Grimsby awaiting the winners in the fourth round, Edwards once again reiterated the fact he wasn’t looking beyond the third round replay, saying: “It’s a great opportunity, but like I said this last week, we can’t think further ahead than this right now.
"The focus will be purely on Wigan, we’re well aware of the prize if we do win, but no game is a walk in the park and I don’t think anyone should get ahead of themselves at all.
"It’s going to be a real challenge, but one we’re certainly looking forward to.
"The players are in a confident mood, there’s lots of good things the other day and lots of pleasing things for me.
"The big one that I know we always get from our lads, they gave absolutely everything.
“They ran themselves into the ground, and the stats actually backed that up as well.
"It was a tough game physically for the lads, they gave everything, we’ve got to go and make sure we do that again or you don’t get anything from the game.”
Meanwhile, with Luton given 450 tickets for this evening’s match and the fans tasked with the exact same trip on Saturday, Edwards praised anyone who is making the trek up to support the Hatters, adding: “I know it’s a big ask, midweek, long way, especially when we’re playing them again at the weekend.
"But anyone that comes up, of course it’s greatly appreciated and we want to make sure we do them proud.
"We know they’ll get behind the lads when they’re up there, so we’re looking forward to seeing those ones brave enough to make the journey.”