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England Championship - Match Prediction: Luton Town VS Barnsley
Match Time：4/5/2021 22:00 Monday (GMT+8)
England Championship -- Luton Town VS Barnsley
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Luton Town and Barnsley will both be aiming to return to winning ways in the Championship when they do battle at Kenilworth Road on Monday afternoon. The hosts fell to a 2-0 defeat to Derby County in their most recent outing, while Barnsley's Good Friday fixture ended in a 1-1 stalemate with Reading.
Luton's painful wait for three consecutive victories in the 2020-21 Championship campaign goes on, as Nathan Jones's side could not build on back-to-back wins over Coventry City and Preston North End before the international break.
Derby's Lee Gregory and Graeme Shinnie struck either side of the break to condemn Luton to their 16th defeat of the season last time out, but with only eight games left to play in the current season, Jones's side realistically have nothing but pride to play for given their league position.
Indeed, the Hatters lie 13th in the table - 15 points clear of the drop zone and 13 adrift of the top six - so consolidating their mid-table standing and potentially pushing for a top-half finish is all that Jones will be demanding from his side in the coming weeks.
Jones's side are unlikely to rise any higher up the table with a victory here given Queens Park Rangers' far superior goal difference, but Luton have taken the spoils in two of their last three fixtures at Kenilworth Road and will be determined to give Barnsley a good run for their money here, but that will be easier said than done against the promotion-chasing Tykes.
Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael must still be wondering how his side managed to take a point from their battle with Reading, as the normally prolific Lucas Joao produced one of the misses of the season at the Oakwell Stadium to prevent his side coming up trumps on Good Friday.
Ovie Ejaria had initially broken the deadlock before Alex Mowatt levelled from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, and with one point taken from their last two fixtures, Barnsley's momentum has taken a slight hit as they pursue an unlikely playoff place.
Ismael has already made plenty of friends during his early days at Barnsley, and a spot in the playoffs would be just reward for his side's hard work during a disrupted and hectic campaign, although the Tykes manager refused to hold back after the match after his side had a late winner ruled out for a foul on Reading goalkeeper Rafael.
Ismael's side won nine from 10 in the space of a month between February and March - a run of form which propelled them into the top six of the table - but Reading's own troubles mean that the Tykes remain fifth in the rankings with just seven games left to go in the regular season.
Furthermore, the Tykes travel to Kenilworth Road having won their last five games on unfamiliar territory - as well as scoring three goals in each of their last three away matches - although a James Collins winner saw Luton take all three points from the Oakwell Stadium in a 1-0 win back in September.
Luton Town Championship form: WLLWWL
Barnsley Championship form: WDWWL
Luton left-back Dan Potts was not deemed fit enough to return to the fold against Derby, but he is edging closer to a return to action and could displace Jordan Clark if given the green light to return.
However, there is less optimism over the fitness of Tom Lockyer, who has suffered a setback in his return from an ankle problem, while fellow centre-back Sonny Bradley is touch-and-go.
As far as any potential changes go, Tom Ince and James Collins could provide some fresh legs up top if Jones opts to shuffle the pack during a demanding Easter period.
Barnsley boss Ismael has confirmed that Herbie Kane will be forced to miss out for another couple of weeks with a knee issue, so Romal Palmer and Friday's goalscorer Mowatt are safe in the engine room.
Liam Kitching and Ben Williams are not ready to return yet either, but Daryl Dike was only considered for a spot on the bench against Reading after his USA exploits, and he could earn a recall to the first XI here.
Victor Adeboyejo and Cauley Woodrow were both hooked at half time last out, and Dike could replace the former in the first XI this week.
Luton Town possible starting lineup:
Sluga; Bree, Naismith, Pearson, Potts; Rea, Mpanzu, Dewsbury-Hall; Ince; Cornick, Collins
Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen; Brittain, Mowatt, Palmer, Styles; Freiser, Woodrow; Dike
Luton Town VS Barnsley
Luton Town 1-2 Barnsley
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