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Fan Focus: Luton fan Graham credits Sunderland’s ‘Championship Squad’ but predicts close battle

We sat down for a chat with Luton Town Podcaster Graham to get his thoughts ahead of today’s game - and whilst he’s predicting a close battle, he’s impressed by Sunderland’s ‘Championship’ standard squad.

Luton Town v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

RR: There’s only one place to start really, Nathan Jones’ departure! Just how much of a shock is this to the club & the fans?

GE: Very shocked at the timing! Not shocked that he would eventually be head hunted but the timing is really shocking. This is possibly the biggest month in the club’s history.

We have had planning recommended for approval on a new stadium which gets decided on by planners next week, then followed by hopefully planning consent for a retail/commercial park near the M1 which will fund the new stadium. This is huge for Luton as a town and for Luton fans. We have waited decades. Plus we have a huge game today which is 2nd v 3rd, and a big cup game on Tuesday for a chance to play at Chelsea which is worth a lot of money.

Nathan Jones has always stated that he was part of this project for the long term but obviously not. Many fans bought into his passion and vision for Luton Town and feel hugely let down. I argue he hasn't covered himself in glory the way he has done it either.

RR: Do you think Jones leaving will severely damage your promotion hopes or are you confident the club will bring in a good replacement? Anyone in particular you would like to see get the job?

GE: I really hope not. We are in a great position and playing attractive football, best I have seen since the David Pleat era. We have a ‘proper’ club legend in charge tomorrow in Mick Harford - a huge Sunderland fan - so he will be right at it. Lets see where that takes us.

He loves our club genuinely and we couldn't have a better man in charge tomorrow.

On a personal level I want us to take time in choosing the next manager. With the club moving on so quickly, now managers will be queuing up. We need someone with a bit of experience and proven track record, but that’s easier said than done.

Luton Town v Chesterfield Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

RR: Looking at it in a slightly more positive light, can you see Jones leaving creating a bit of a siege mentality at the club? There must be a lot of togetherness in a squad that has plenty of momentum, so could you see this having a strange galvanising effect?

GE: Definitely, this team is one of the closest knit I have seen for sometime.

They are playing for each other and have a desire to win and not give up. We have some good experience in there and this will help some of the younger lads. We have not lost in 17 games I think in the league and they will be wanting to keep that up.

RR: The goals seem to be nicely shared out amongst the Luton forwards, indicating our defenders will have to be on their toes on Saturday. Who’s in good form at the minute though? Anyone you would single out for us to keep an eye on?

GE: The obvious choice would be Danny Hylton, but he will be first to admit his early season injury has not meant he is as sharp as he would like but has a terrific match to goal ratio for us. 1 in every 2 games I believe.

James Coliins is playing really well and confidence is high. He never stops running and will cause defenders to be on their guard. He has really stepped up this season and long may it continue. Elliot Lee is a tricky customer. On his day can be running rings around defenders. Has a good eye for goal. If Harry Cornick plays, watch out for his pace - he is lightening quick and now adding goals to his game.

Newcastle United v Luton Town - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

RR: What about the Sunderland squad? Who in our ranks do you think could cause you some problems?

GE: There is now doubt this is a talented squad and playing very well. Wyke is a good striker and holds up the ball well and we all know about Cattermole is always in your face. I like Luke O’Nien - a player we were in for before he went to you guys. Good playmaker. This is a championship squad without a doubt.

RR: How do you see the team approaching this game though and what do you think the starting line up will be?

GE: It will be a very similar team to last week in the cup. I’m not sure Harry Cornick will be fit so Danny Hylton is likely to continue up top. They will want to keep the Sunderland crowd quiet for the first 20 minutes and then kick on - we will set up to win and never give up. It’ll be an interesting test for us.

RR: Finally, can we have a score prediction please?

GE: Boring I know, but 1-1.