PREVIEW: Burnley v Luton Town
It's all rather new for Burnley this season.
Not only is it a new division for the Clarets, having been relegated out of the Premier League last term, but also a new manager in Vincent Kompany, plus an increasingly newlook squad that will be running out at Turf Moor for the first time in front of their own supporters at the weekend.
The club saw their six season stay in the top flight finally ended, dropping out on the final day of the season following a 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle United.
They had been led in the closing stages by U23s boss Mike Jackson, appointed with just eight games to go once former Town loanee Sean Dyche was sacked after a decade in charge, but despite starting brightly, he couldn't keep them up.
Unsurprisingly dropping down a division led to a change at the top, with former Manchester City skipper Kompany, who had been recently been in charge at Belgian side Anderlecht. appointed with the brief of returning the Clarets to the top division, joined by former Wales, Liverpool and Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy as his number two.
However, he faces a hefty rebuilding job on his hands, having seen his squad picked off by the Premier League clubs over the summer, although Burnley have been more than healthily reimbursed for the majority of the departures.
Defender Nathan Collins fetched the most, Wolves paying out £20.5m for the Irish international, while winger Dwight McNeil headed to Everton for £20m, with England keeper Nick Pope now at Newcastle, the Magpies forking out £10m for his services.
Also gone are James Tarkowski, moving to Everton on a free with club captain Ben Mee going to Brentford, while Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey joined newly-promoted side Nottingham Forest.
Kompany has turned his attentions to replacing those who have left and has done so well, with a whole host of new additions already.
He has searched far and wide too, the latest incoming being Belgian midfielder Manuel Benson from Antwerp who arrived in Lancashire yesterday.
Kompany has revisited his home country and former club to sign ex-West Ham youngster Josh Cullen from Anderlecht for £2.7m, plus Brazilian full back Vitinho from Club Brugges as well, heading to St Liege for midfielder Samuel Bastien.
He also used his Manchester City links to capture defender CJ Egan-Rile and keeper Arijanet Muric, plus the loan signing of centre back Taylor Harwood-Bellis, also getting highly rated Ian Maatsen from Chelsea.
The lower leagues were scoured too, influential midfielder Scott Twine snapped up from MK Dons for a fee of around £4m and just under £2m paid out for Oxford defender Luke McNally.
The new signings appeared to gel pretty quickly on the opening night as Burnley got up and running with a 1-0 win at last season's play-off finalists Huddersfield courtesy of Maatsen's debut winner.
Off the pitch, Kompany has stated he is 'calm' about the need for the Clarets to be promoted back to the top flight, after having to replay a 'significant proportion' of their £65m loan received from with American finance company MSD Holdings.
He told BBC Radio Lancaster: “It's a transition period and it's about how we get there
"The ambition as you come down is always to go back up but the reality is that, if it doesn't happen, I think we're in a very calm position because we know what to do with the debt and we know how to create value.
"We know how to grow the club.
"It's an experienced squad and if we are to turn a financial corner, I think it's important to have balance in the squad and mix in players who grow in value and exciting players as well.
"Then a mix between the players that hold that culture together with what has made Burnley special over the years."
Team news: Luton expect to have two of Luke Berry, Reece Burke and Alfie Doughty available for the match, with boss Nathan Jones not drawn on who would be missing out.
Midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu won't be available though as he continues his return from a knee injury that ended his season.
Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez is a doubt for the hosts, as he missed the 1-0 win at Huddersfield last weekend due to injury.
Man in the middle: Darren Bond – experienced official was in charge of just 17 games last season, the majority all coming after the turn of the year, showing 64 yellows and two reds.
Had one Luton match, the 3-0 defeat at Birmingham, while refereed Town twice in the 2020-21 campaign, a 1-0 FA Cup win over Reading and 1-0 home defeat to Swansea.
Has had the whistle for seven more Hatters games, Luton winning four, including the 3-2 final day success over Blackburn in 2020, one draw and two defeats.
Took his first fixture last weekend, the 1-1 Championship draw between Sunderland and Coventry.
Assistant referees are Philip Dermott and Paul Hodskinson, with David Webb the fourth official.
In charge: Vincent Kompany – 36-year-old Belgian, who began his professional career at Anderlecht, winning the First Division twice, heading to Hamburg in June 2006 for a fee of €10 million.
Snapped up by Manchester City in August 2008, as he went on to become a modern day legend at the Etihad, captaining the team to four Premier League titles, two FA Cup triumphs and four League Cup victories.
Returned to Anderlecht in May 2019 as player-manager, but stepped down from the role to focus on playing a few months later,
Eventually hung up his boots having also won 89 caps for his country, named head coach of Anderlecht, leading the side to the Belgian Cup semi-finals and the UEFA Europa Conference League in his first season, finishing as cup runners-up last term.
Left Belgium to move to Burnley as manager in June of this year, becoming the Clarets first manager from outside the UK and Ireland.
View from the opposition: Vincent Kompany speaking to the Clarets' official website: “I’ve spent a lot of time watching them and they won’t change the way they play because they’re coming to Turf Moor, but as the season progresses, you have to earn the right for teams to come and sit deep. We’re not there yet.
“Luton are a team with a lot of athleticism who manage to play to their strengths really well.
"There’s clarity in what they do, and they’re really good at what they do. That’s the threat.
“Like in every game, we’ve had a look at what opportunities there are for us against them.”
One to watch: Ashley Barnes - experienced striker is closing in 50 goals for the Clarets having signed for the club in January 2014.
Started out with Plymouth Argyle, having a number of loan moves until joining Brighton in March 2010.
Netted 53 goals for the Seagulls in four years, heading to Turf Moor in January 2014 and has managed to find the net 47 times in 249 matches.
Played for both: Jean-Louis Valois - mercurial midfielder arrived at Luton following a spell with French side Lille and proceeded to have one of the best debuts ever for the club in the 5-1 win over Torquay, including powering a 30-yarder into the top corner.
Went on to play 34 times for the Hatters, scoring six goals, becoming a real crowd favourite, but moved to Scottish Premier League side Hearts in August 2002 on a free transfer.
Spells followed with UD Almeira in Spain and then back in Scotland, signing for Clyde, going on to join Burnley in September 2005.
Stayed at Turf Moor for the rest of the season, making 37 appearances and scoring four times.
A deal with USA second Division Side Al-Khaleej was then accepted in June 2006, as he then went on to join Al Nasr, whom he left a year later.
We've got form: Luton's trips to Burnley started way back in 1897, as they went down to a 4-0 Division Two defeat.
It took the Hatters until their ninth trip to register a win, triumphing 2-1 in Division One over 50 years later, having suffered six defeats and two draws.
That victory didn't show any immediate signs of the worm turning though with four more losses and a draw as Town's early pickings were meagre to say the least.
They did garner another win 1976, going three matches without victory again before Ricky Hill settled a 1-0 League Cup success in 1988.
Although Town were beaten once more, they have turned things around quite dramatically since, following Tony Thorpe's double ensuring a 2-0 win in 1997.
Since then, Luton have gone unbeaten, with three wins and three draws, their last loss coming back in 1995.
In total, the Hatters have won six, drawn seven and lost 13 of their 26 trips, with 27 goals scored and conceding 43, although they have kept five clean sheets in their last nine matches.
Last time out: Luton were held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley on their last visit to Turf Moor, that Championship clash in March 2007, as they ended a six match losing run in new manager Kevin Blackwell's first game in charge.
Up against a Clarets side containing former Hatters Paul McVeigh and Wayne Thomas, plus ex-Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba, there was little between the sides, Dean Morgan missing two chances in the second half.
Hatters: Dean Brill, Leon Barnett (Chris Coyne 24), Sol Davis (Kevin Foley 70), Clark Carlisle, Drew Talbot, Matt Spring, Markus Heikkinen, Keith Keane, Steve Robinson, David Bell, Dean Morgan (Calvin Andrew 70).
Subs not used: Marlon Beresford, Ahmet Brkovic.
Referee: Mike Thorpe.