Monday, May 29, 2023

Rob Edwards says Luton can use previous play-off heartbreak to their advantage

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 May 2023


Luton manager Rob Edwards believes the experience of losing a Championship play-off semi-final can be turned into a positive as they prepare to make their return.

Several players in the squad went through the heartbreak of a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Huddersfield a year ago.

But Edwards, who took over from Nathan Jones in November, thinks that can help with motivation ahead of the trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the lads handle it. A number of them had the disappointment of last season and they don’t want that again,” he told a press conference.

“We can learn from that experience, we can talk about it.

“The one thing that I’m looking for is the performance, doing our basics and those things really well because that’s what has served us well throughout the season so far.

“If we do those things right you give yourself a good chance of getting a result but I can’t say ‘yeah, we’re going to go one step further’.”

Luton secured their play-off place a couple of weeks ago and finished the season third, 11 points behind Sheffield United but also 11 ahead of Sunderland.

They have not lost since February, and then to champions Burnley, and have been defeated only twice since Boxing Day as they ended the campaign on a 14-match unbeaten run of eight wins and six draws.

But Edwards does not believe that will make much difference when it comes to knockout football.

“I’m not sure how important form and momentum is,” he added.

“We’ve been able to do that (maintain momentum) but the play-offs are something else, they are a different beast.

“The time where I was part of a successful team (at Blackpool in 2010) we finished sixth and beat Nottingham Forest in the semi-final, who finished a number of points ahead of us.

“That was a long time ago, but I’ve experienced it. I think where we finished probably hasn’t got a part to play now.

“The players do deserve a lot of credit to finish third in this league but we’re not done and we don’t want it to end now.”

Striker Cauley Woodrow is expected to miss both legs against Sunderland with a knee problem but could possibly return if Luton reach the final.


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