Luton: Ingram, Burke, Bradley, Naismith, Lansbury, Bree, Bell, Campbell, Clark, Jerome, Cornick.
Subtitles: Potts, Hylton, Snodgrass, Mendes Gomes, Lockyer, Kioso, Isted.
Hudderfield: Nicholls, Lees, Hogg, Sarr, Turton, Holmes, O’Brien, Russell, Toffolo, Sinani, Ward.
Subtitles: Pipa, Anjorin, Rhodes, Thomas, Blackman, Colwill, Eiting.
Arbitrator: Robert Jones (Merseyside)
Officials for tonight’s game
Arbitrator: Robert Jones
Assistant referees: Ian Hussin and Wade Smith
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
A reminder: there is no VAR in the league and away goals scored in the semi-finals of the playoffs do not count for the supplement.
Huddersfield boss Carlos Corberan hopes central midfielder Lewis O’Brien is fit enough to start after recovering from an abdominal problem that kept him out of the Terriers’ win over Bristol City at the weekend but ruled out starts for winger Sorba Thomas and centre-back Matty Pearson, who hasn’t run enough into his legs after recovering from a knee injury but can appear on the bench if necessary. A former Luton player, Pearson has not played for his side since March.
Luton manager Nathan Jones recently suffered an injury crisis in his squad but was able to summon James Bree, Allan Campbell, Harry Cornick and Sonny Bradley from the treatment room for last weekend’s win over Reading. This weekend he hopes his side’s top scorer Elijah Adebayo could play a role tonight after returning from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for the past three weeks. . Already a three-time promotion winner with Luton, midfielder Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu has been ruled out.
The first of the playoff semi-finals kicks off tonight in the hostile but ramshackle surroundings of Kenilworth Road. With Luton Town planning to build their own new 23,000 seater jewel stadium at Power Court, it seems almost unthinkable that their current ground will be able to stage top-flight games for the first time since 1992-93 next season, but the team calling him home are just three games away from promotion.
It would be a pretty stunning achievement for a team that played non-league football as recently as 2014 and operate on a miniscule budget compared to all but one of their league rivals. Blackpool, since you asked so kindly.
To qualify for the Wembley final they will need to overcome a Huddersfield side who have also punched well above their weight this season, with a mid-table team budget of £17m (hattrick : @Kieran McGuire of soccer awards podcast), a sum that nevertheless eclipses that of Luton, whose entire squad costs just £3.5million.
With the second leg in Yorkshire coming up on Monday and the winners set to face either Sheffield United or Nottingham Forest, tonight’s kick-off is at 7.45pm. Stay tuned in the meantime for team and construction news.