Barnsley vs Luton Town preview: Promoted sides in need of win
Graeme Jones manager of Luton Town reacts prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town at Hillsborough Stadium on August 20, 2019 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

While Charlton Athletic are unbeaten and in the play-off places after four games, the other two sides who came up to the Championship this season have fared worse so far.

Both of these teams enjoyed positive starts. Barnsley certainly did, beating a star-studded Fulham line-up on the opening day, while Luton Town kicked off the campaign with a thrilling Friday-night draw with Middlesbrough at Kenilworth Road.

The weeks since have not treated either so kindly though. The Tykes have picked up only one more point, a draw with Charlton, but have been well beaten in both away ties at Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City.

The Hatters have given Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion and Wednesday a run for their money and lost by only a goal on each occasion, but the time will soon come where performances mean little and points mean everything.

With both teams in the bottom five, this already promises to be an important clash.

Barnsley have a remarkable record at Oakwell – unbeaten in the league since March 2018 – but are now winless in four matches for the first time in Daniel Stendel’s tenure as manager.

Their new-look defence has conceded two goals in each of the last three games, and will need to stay tight against the set-piece specialists Luton – six of their eight goals in all competitions so far this season have come from that source.

Team news

Barnsley hope Cauley Woodrow can return after picking up a knock last weekend against Charlton. If not, Patrick Schmidt provides an extra option after making his debut off the bench at Birmingham.

Alex Mowatt returned to the team on Tuesday following a side strain, while winger Jacob Brown is nearing a return to fitness.

Luton boss Graeme Jones could be boosted by three late returnees if Callum McManaman, Dan Potts and Brendan Galloway can recover from hamstring and groin complaints respectively.

Martin Cranie is a bigger concern with suspected knee ligament damage, and 19-year-old Luke Bolton is in prime position to fill in at right-back after replacing him at Sheffield Wednesday. Danny Hylton has undergone surgery with a knee problem.

What the managers have said

On the trip to Oakwell, Luton boss Jones said: “At home they are always a threat. They are a capable outfit.

“They are a capable team tactically and individually. Obviously they beat Fulham on the opening day, drew 2-2 with Charlton, who got a penalty late in the game. Barnsley were probably the better side.

“We need to prepare well for Barnsley – we are in the process of that – and make sure we are competitive.”

After their defeat to Birmingham, Stendel admitted that Barnsley were too easy to score against.

“We fight so much for a good result and one mistake in the Championship is a goal,” he said. “At the moment, we give other teams too easy goals.

“All newly-promoted teams find it hard, every week is new. But when we keep together, we have chances to win games.”