Luton chief demands Hatters don't give struggling Wigan a 'sniff' of using the FA Cup to 'spark' their dismal season into life

Hatters boss Rob EdwardsHatters boss Rob Edwards
Hatters boss Rob Edwards
Latics are sitting bottom of the Championship ahead after four straight defeats

Hatters chief Rob Edwards has demanded his side don’t give struggling opponents Wigan Athletic a ‘sniff’ of using this evening’s FA Cup third round tie as a way of ending their terrible run of form.

The Latics had made a good start to life back in the Championship after winning the League One title last term as following a 1-0 success over Blackburn Rovers on October 11, they were sitting ninth in the table and one point above the Hatters, whom they defeated 2-1 at Kenilworth Road.

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However a run of six defeats in seven cost boss Leam Richardson his job back in November, despite having just signed a new three year deal, but although they beat Blackpool 2-1 and appointed Kolo Toure as manager, the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool player hasn’t been able to oversee an upturn in fortunes.

He did draw his first game at Millwall, before the Latics then lost their next four, conceding four goals in each of their last three games, to drop to the bottom of the table.

Now heading to Bedfordshire for a 5.30pm kick-off, Edwards doesn’t want Luton to gift their opponents any chance of using a welcome breather from the Championship to kickstart their campaign, as he said: “They’ve had a bit of tough period but, for them, it might be a case of being able to use the cup as a reset and give them a different spark.

“Watching them in their recent games, some of the results they’ve had, the games have been tight.

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"They’ve not been hammered, even though some of those scorelines have suggested, maybe, that case.

“We’re expecting a really tough game.

"We’ve got to make it a really difficult game for them and, as always, we expect our supporters to be right behind the lads and make it a fantastic place for us to play, and an intimidating atmosphere for them.

“We’ve got to make sure we do everything right to keep our momentum going and don’t give them a sniff or a chance to build any confidence in the game.

“We’re expecting a real tough challenge.

"Forget the results or what’s gone before, that doesn’t really interest me at all.

"We’re expecting a really difficult game.”

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Although Luton’s form couldn’t be any different, three wins from three over the Christmas period propelling Town to just goal difference away from the play-offs, Edwards was eager to guard against any kind of complacency going into the tie.

He continued: “I’ve got to stress, this is not going to be a turn up and win, no, that doesn’t happen in football.

"It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against, we’ve got to earn it and we’ve got to do our basics really well.

"We’ve got to run and fight and do everything that’s got us a little bit of success in a week. That’s it.

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“We’ve not cracked it or done anything yet, just because we’ve had a good week.

"We’ve got to keep this going and we know how we do that by doing what we do really well.

"That’s one thing you can never guarantee, you’ve heard me saying this before but the performance is what we’re looking for.

“The work-rate, the running, the sprint recoveries, regaining the ball as quickly as possible, all that sort of stuff is the recipe, the ingredients we want to try and get the win.”

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Being back at Kenilworth Road for the first time in 2023 is a boost for Edwards too, who has had three of his opening four matches in charge of Town away from home.

He added: “We know our fans are brilliant.

"They’ve been amazing away from home and they’ve brilliant in the home games we’ve had.

“We want to make sure we put on a good performance, get our supporters going and we’ll need to bounce off each other, I’m sure.

“It’s a fantastic competition and one we want to try and do as well as possible in.

"We want to keep winning and we look forward to the cup.

"It’s another really good game for us, it’s another Championship team anyway so it’s a team we know a fair bit about which is good and we look forward to it.”