After six qualifying rounds, this weekend sees the start of the FA Cup with the 1st round proper. Through the wonders of random number generators, we’ve picked Luton Town as the team to focus on in this round and in the likely event that they don’t win the FA Cup, we’ll follow each subsequent victor until the final.
Luton Town were in the top flight as recently as 1991/92 but got relegated just as Division 1 turned into the Premier League. Since then they have gradually dropped down the divisions, with financial problems in the past couple of years meaning points deductions which proved too much to overcome. They now find themselves playing in the Conference, having had their 89 year league stay ended last season following a 30 point deficit on everyone else. They did win the Football League Trophy however.
They comfortably beat Grays Athletic 3-0 in the last round and now face League Two Rochdale in the 1st round. Rochdale have been doing well this season and lie second at the moment while Luton themselves are adjusting well to Conference life and are just outside the playoffs in fifth place, though just three points off second.
Looking through their squad I was surprised to see someone I recognised – Kevin Gallen is on their books. Yes, the ex QPR man who was my cousin’s favourite player growing up (he supports QPR you see) and he has always struck me as one of those classic number 10’s who are really talented but also a bit lazy. In Gallen’s case he’s now a bit of a fatty, though thinking back to QPR games I went to with said cousin, I’m sure he was a bit chubby then too.
Anyway, he is their joint top scorer with four goals and will probably have some part to play if Luton are to beat Rochdale. Looking at the other high scorers, ex Middlesbrough youth player Tom Craddock offers pace up front while defender George Pilkington presumably offers a good aerial threat from set pieces given he also has four goals.
While Rochdale are favourites Luton did draw with them at Kenilworth Road last season and the players will also be looking to impress new manager Richard Money who has a great name and was only appointed a week ago having left the youth set-up at Newcastle to do so (probably a good idea to be fair).
I don’t have much else to say as I have to finish packing as I’m moving house but good luck to Luton today, and we’ll catchup with what happened before the next round.