EPL

Edwards urges Luton to 'reward' supporters on final day

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

Rob Edwards wants Luton Town’s players to "reward" the fans for their support throughout the season when they welcome Fulham on the final day.

The 18th-place Hatters' survival hopes are still mathematically alive, but they require an ambitious 12-goal swing to leapfrog Nottingham Forest, who are away at already relegated Burnley, in 17th.

Despite their immediate return to the Championship being all but confirmed, Luton have earned many admirers this season, scoring 50 goals along the way.

In a 20-team Premier League season, only Blackpool (55, 2010-11), Middlesbrough (51, 1996-97) and Leicester City (51, 2022-23) have netted more times during a campaign in which they were relegated. 

Edwards has urged his players to give the supporters plenty to cheer about and, regardless of the end result on Sunday, is optimistic about the club's future.

"We want to reward them with a good performance and want to win the game," he said. "I think it will be really good atmosphere. 

"Everything I have had from fans has been really positive. Everyone has been proud of players and club and what they have shown. We want to make it a really positive day with the performance as well.

"We have given everything and given a really good account of ourselves. We have shown Luton to the world in a really good light.

"I'm really proud of what we have done the past 18 months. The club is in a really healthy position. We have been saying since we arrived, this club is only going one way."

With Fulham safe in 14th and looking forward to a third successive season back in the Premier League, Cottagers boss Marco Silva also paid tribute to the spirit shown by the Hatters during their maiden campaign.

"It will be a really tough game for us," he said. “Even if they don't achieve [safety], they are going to fight to the maximum – and this reflects Rob and his staff.

"For them to fight until the end to stay up, shows how much they have improved. Their fans are proud of their team and you can see it every time they play."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Luton Town - Alfie Doughty

With 42, Doughty has created the most chances from set-plays in the Premier League this season.

Meanwhile, only West Ham's James Ward-Prowse has registered more such assists (six) than the Luton full-back (five).

Fulham - Andreas Pereira

Pereira has created 84 chances in the Premier League this season, the most by a Fulham player in a single campaign (since 2003-04). 

Meanwhile, his tally of seven assists is the highest by a Cottagers player in a single term since Simon Davies in 2007-08 (eight).

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Both sides are on winless streaks; Luton failing to win any of their last five matches, and Fulham without victory in four attempts.

The Hatters have failed to win any of their last six league games against the Cottagers (drawn two, lost four), though both those draws have come in the two most recent meetings at Kenilworth Road. 

Luton have only kept two clean sheets this season and conceded 81 goals – only letting more in during a top-flight campaign in 1982-83 (84).

While Fulham have kept two successive away clean sheets – after 12 straight games without one – they have not registered three in a row since a run of four in late 2008.

The Cottagers have not won their final league game in any of the last six seasons (drawing one, losing five), with a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 2016-17 representing their most recent such success.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Luton Town: 33.9%
Fulham: 37.7%
Draw: 28.4%

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