As we enter the penultimate round of EFL Championship fixtures, the importance of every point cannot be underestimated.
This is especially the case in the relegation battle, with as many as nine teams still fighting to avoid the drop into League One.
And two of those sides meet this weekend, with both Hull City and Luton Town sat in the relegation zone on 45 points. So a win could see one side take a huge step towards safety, whilst virtually condemning the other to life in the third tier.
Story behind the game
Hull boss Grant McCann will feel that his team surely can't put in a worse performance than their last outing. Coming up against a financially troubled Wigan Athletic team, the Tigers managed to find themselves 7-0 down at half-time, ultimately losing by eight. So they will need to improve massively on that abysmal showing if they are to get anything from this fixture. Meanwhile, Nathan Jones will be hoping that his Luton side can hold on to a win on Saturday, unlike in their last match against QPR, where they gave up the lead to only take a point. The Hatters did however win their last away game against fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, so will be aiming for the same again in that regard.
These sides have only met once since 2007, with Hull winning convincingly at Kenilworth Road in September. That 3-0 victory was not just a one off though, with the Yorkshire side having picked up 10 points from 12 available in their last four meetings with Luton. The away side in fact haven't beaten their opponents since September 2005, however that was also an away match, so a repeat nearly 15 years later will be massive for them in their survival bid.
The stakes for this match could not be any higher, as the culmination of an entire season's worth of work could come down to just 90 minutes of football.
McCann is likely to heavily rotate his squad following their embarrassing result against Wigan. The likes of striker Tom Eaves, centre-back Angus MacDonald and former Liverpool man Kevin Stewart could all feature in the starting line-up. But Herbie Kane remains out injured.
In the other camp, Jones could name the same starting XI for the third match in a row. Although winger Kazenga LuaLua will be pushing for a spot after his recovery from injury. Others such as George Moncur and Danny Hylton will be challenging for a starting spot.
(4-1-2-1-2) Long, Burke, MacDonald, de Wijs, Elder, Stewart, Bowler, Lopes, Honeyman, Wilks, Eaves.
(4-3-3) Sluga, Bree, Carter-Vickers, Bradley, Potts, Mpanzu, Shinnie, Berry, Lee, Cornick, Collins.
Jordy de Wijs v James Collins
If Hull are going to get a result here, they need to massively tighten up their defense. With Dutchman Jordy de Wijs being part of the back-line that conceded those eight goals last time out. He has been a mainstay in the City team since his arrival in 2018, and will be hoping that can continue next season with his side in the Championship.
On Saturday he will be tasked with stopping the threat of striker James Collins, who has 13 goals to his name in all competitions this season. Collins scored from the spot in Luton's last game, so they will be hoping that he can repeat that goalscoring touch here.
Tom Eaves v Cameron Carter-Vickers
At the other end of the pitch, Hull will be hoping that their own striker Tom Eaves will be able to get his first goal since mid-February to add to the eight that he already has. That was to grab a point against Swansea City, but Eaves knows that only a winning goal will be suitable on this occasion. Looking to prevent that from happening will be centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers.
The Tottenham Hotspur loanee has spent the last three seasons at different Championship clubs, and he'll be aiming to put in a solid performance on Saturday in order to ensure his current club keeps their status in the league.
What the managers have said
Hull manager Grant McCann was not in attendance for his side's pre-match press conference, instead his assistant Cliff Byrne spoke to the media. He said:
“We made it quite clear at our debrief that we can't dwell on Tuesday. We have to move on and look ahead to Luton.
“Obviously the magnitude of the upcoming game is massive. It's a real opportunity to go and respond.”
Meanwhile Luton boss Nathan Jones spoke the local media ahead of the game, believe his side to be up for the occasion. He said:
“We're in a good place, I think we've been in relatively good form since lockdown. We've given ourselves a chance, which is all you can ask for really.
“It's going to be tight, it's exciting, it's nerves. I don't think there's anyone playing on the weekend that haven't got something to play.