The scoreline may have been a bit lop-sided in relation to the flow of the game, but a 3-0 defeat at fellow high-fliers Oxford has cast a shadow over City’s great start to the season. The matches come thick and fast, however, with attention this week turning to the EFL Cup and the visit of a Premier League team, albeit a familiar recent foe, for City’s first 3rd round tie in the competition since 1989.
Gary Caldwell was able to welcome Harry Kite and Vincent Harper back on Saturday, but this was tempered with the sight of Ryan Trevitt limping off. Caldwell is likely to freshen things up a bit with another midweek league fixture next Tuesday, with James Scott amongst those pressing for a start should Trevitt not make it back. One name who would be missing even if fit is Admiral Muskwe, on loan from Tuesday’s opponents.
Having had to endure a spell in non-league as they tried to repair previous financial damage, the rise of Luton Town back to the top flight has been meteoric having been amongst City’s opponents in League Two as recently as 2018. Rob Edwards, who took Forest Green to the League Two title in 2022 before jumping ship for a brief spell at Watford, repaired his reputation very quickly by signing for Watford’s rivals and taking them up via the playoffs where they defeated another League Two Class of 2018 side in Coventry.
The bookies have been busy taking odds on Luton going down with a whimper, which so far hasn’t been too far wide of the mark, although a controversial 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday will have given Edwards’ side some hope. Signings during the summer were fairly modest, the most high profile probably being Ross Barkley as Edwards has largely rewarded the players who got them to the summit – although one player hoping to feature is Chiedozie Ogbene, who had a loan spell with City in Matt Taylor’s first season in charge.
The sides have never met in the League Cup although they have met in the FA Cup, most recently in 2016/17 when Luton won 3-1 at the Park. The last league fixtures between the sides was in Luton’s successful 2017/18 season where they recorded a resounding 4-1 win at the Park – Collins gave the visitors the lead, Taylor equalised before second half goals from Potts, Hylton and Cornick sealed the win. The Hatters won the return 1-0, Cornick again on the scoresheet.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: James Bell
Assistant Referees: Ian Cooper and George Byrne
Fourth Official: Andy Davies
The last time James Bell refereed an Exeter game was in November 2020 when Exeter drew 2-2 away at Bradford City.