PREVIEW: Luton Town v Coventry City

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A lack of goals has seen Coventry City’s attempts to return to League One at the first time of asking begin to flounder after what had appeared a very bright start indeed.

Everything was looking rosy for the Sky Blues after they won their opening two games handsomely, but that was quickly followed by defeats to Newport and Yeovil and a draw against Chesterfield.

A 1-0 victory over Port Vale seemed to have kick-started Mark Robins’ side back into life as they picked up five wins from six matches to look capable of mounting a serious automatic promotion charge.

However, a 0-0 draw at Barnet saw Coventry start a four game winless streak, with disappointing defeats to Accrington and lowly Forest Green Rovers, plus last weekend’s stalemate with Colchester, as they haven’t managed to find the net in that time either.

Goalscoring has not only suddenly been a recent issue for Robins’ side as they have scored just 14 goals from 15 games this term, three coming on the opening day, with a paltry five on their travels from seven matches, drawing four blanks too.

Despite not even going at a goal a game, Coventry’s superb defensive record means they still have a plus goal difference of six, the back-line breached just eight times, with an impressive nine clean sheets to their name.

Boss Robins believes they will start to find their shooting boots soon though, as he told the official website: “We can only look to try and solve the problems that we have got in terms of creating chances.

“On the flipside we are still defensively solid and capable at the back.

“You go through spells like this in a season. This is why they call it a marathon and not a sprint.

“Things have not come easy for us and there are reasons for that. Tomorrow will be different because they are top of the league and they will have a go.

“Things change slightly but we have been working on various things this week which will stand up in good stead.”

Team news: Luton will be without the suspended Alan Sheehan after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Crawley on Saturday, while midfielder Alan McCormack is also out.

For Coventry, Jodi Jones should be fine after coming off against Colchester last week, while Ryan Haynes back, leaving just Tony Andreu missing.

Top scorers: Hatters - Danny Hylton, James Collins (8). Sky Blues – Duckens Nazons (5).

Milestones: Manager Nathan Jones will complete 100 games in charge of the Hatters during Saturday’s clash.

Since taking over in January 2016, the former Brighton first team coach has managed 48 wins, 27 draws and 24 defeats.

Man in the middle: Robert Jones – Has taken 14 games so far this season, showing 38 yellows and two reds in that time, with both dismissals coming during Wigan’s 1-1 draw with Portsmouth back in August.

Officiated a variety of League One and Two games last season, with 122 yellows and four reds in his 41 matches.

Spent the two previous campaigns in the Conference, making this his first ever Football League fixture involving the Hatters.

Assistant referees are Graham Kane and Leigh Crowhurst, with the fourth official Anthony Da Costa

In charge: Mark Robins – 47-year-old, who had a fine career as a striker during his playing days.

Came through the ranks at Manchester United and is widely regarded as the player who saved Alex Ferguson’s job, when scoring the winner in a 1-0 FA Cup win at Nottingham Forest in 1990.

Left Old Trafford for Norwich City for a fee of £800,000, before spells at Leicester City, FC Copenhagen, Reading, Ourense, Panionios, Manchester City, Walsall, Rotherham United, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and Burton Albion.

Joined Rotherham in 2000, becoming assistant manager under Alan Knill, and was caretaker boss in February 2007, given the reins permanently in April.

Appointed Barnsley chief in September 2009, although resigned at the end of the 2010–11 season because of differences with the board.

Became Coventry manager for the first time in September 2012, staying less than a year, unveiled as Huddersfield boss in February 2013, only to part company with the Terriers after the first game of the 2014–15 season, a 4–0 home defeat to Bournemouth.

Back in work shortly afterwards though, taking charge of Scunthorpe United in October 2014, where he stayed until being sacked in January 2016.

After 12 months out of work, returned to Coventry on March 6 of this year, replacing previous boss Russell Slade.

View from the opposition: Liam Kelly talking to the Coventry Telegraph: ”I think the game will suit us.

“Luton are an attacking team, especially at home.

“They will come out and be more open than the teams we have played at home recently, where 11 men sit behind the ball for the majority of the game.

“We are very dangerous on the counter attack and we have always done well against teams at the top end of the league, when the game is a little bit more open.

“If you want to be successful you have to be able to beat the top teams.”

Friendly faces: Hatters legend and now chief recruitment office Mick Harford joined Coventry in July 1993, snapped up for £200,000 from Sunderland.

Despite being at the club for 13 months, Harford only made one league appearance as a 15-minute substitute against Newcastle, scoring the winning goal.

Headed to Wimbledon for £50,000 in August 1994 where he eventually finished his playing career.

Although on loan at Torquay, Hatters attacker Josh McQuoid spent five months at the Sky Blues from Bournemouth between August 2014 to December 2014, playing 19 times and scoring five goals.

Played for both: Michael McIndoe – highly talented midfielder who came through the ranks at Kenilworth Road going on to play 49 times for the Hatters between 1998-200.

Made over 500 appearances during his professional career, scoring 84 goals and was sold for fees in excess of £1million, as he also earned two Scotland B caps as well.

From Luton, went to Hereford, Yeovil, Doncaster, Derby, Barnsley, Wolves and Bristol City, before heading to Coventry in August 2009 when they were in the Championship, for around £300,000.

Played 50 times for the Sky Blues, scoring once, heading to MK Dons on loan in that time and then ended his career in July 2011, aged 31, to concentrate on his business ventures.

Declared bankrupt in October 2014 though and has recently released his first autobiography called Wildling.

One to watch: Jodi Jones – 20-year-old winger who started out at Dagenham & Redbridge, becoming the Daggers’ youngest ever Football League player when he appeared against Portsmouth in February 2015, aged just 17.

Scored four goals in 35 games for Dagenham, before joining Coventry on loan with a view to a permanent deal, completing that move in May 2016 for an undisclosed fee.

Bagged a hat-trick in the opening day 3-0 win over Notts County and has netted four times in total this season, although impresses with his trickery on the wing, scoring six times in 68 games for the Sky Blues so far.

We’ve got form: Luton definitely haven’t had it their own way against Coventry in their past 41 meetings at Kenilworth Road.

Although Hatters have triumphed on 21 occasions, they have lost 13 times with the other seven finishing all square. Luton have managed to find the net 84 times, having only been shut out three times, and conceding 59 goals too.

The hosts started off in fine style with a 6-1 victory in their first clash, that a Southern League encounter in 1908 as Alexander Menzies netted a double.

They did endure five straight defeats between September 1963 and December 1984, ending with a 2-0 Division One win thanks to goals from Brian Stein and Ray Daniel.

Town are on a decent recent run though suffering just one defeat in their last eight visits, Luton winning six, including four in four, drawing one and losing one.

Games usually bring a result too as the pair have drawn just once in their last 18 clashes, that a 2-2 Division One contest in 1989, John Dreyer and Danny Wilson scoring.

Last time out: Luton ran out 3-1 winners the last time Coventry visited Kenilworth Road, a Championship clash in December 2006.

Ahmet Brkovic netted on the stroke of half time, before then putting through his own goal on the hour mark.

However, a quickfire double saw Rowan Vine (66) make it 2-1 and Dean Morgan add Town’s third just two minutes later.

Hatters: Dean Kiely, Kevin Foley, Lewis Emanuel, Leon Barnett, Carlos Edwards, Markus Heikkinen, David Bell, Ahmet Brkovic (Richard Langley 83), Steve Robinson (Chris Coyne 63), Dean Morgan (Warren Feeney 81), Rowan Vine.

Subs not used: Marlon Beresford, Adam Boyd.

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Attendance: 8,299.