Sunderland vs. Luton Betting Tips: Carlton Morris tipped to score
Sunderland and Luton have made huge strides this season, but who will make the next one to Wembley?
EFL pundit Gab Sutton previews the Championship play-off semi-final first-leg which takes place on Saturday 13th May at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports.
Saturday’s Play-Off Semi-Final first leg is a tale of two clubs who have come a long way in a short space of time.
Neither are under huge pressure to win promotion: the Black Cats, because they went up from League One last season, and the Hatters, because they were playing non-league football as recently as 2014.
If either reached the Premier League, it would be a huge achievement, yet the team that comes out on the wrong side of the Semi-Final can still look to the future with a level of hope, optimism, and belief that would’ve been hard to reach at a different stage of that club’s recent history.
From that standpoint, this Semi-Final could be more entertaining than most, even in the first leg, with both teams embracing the opportunity, rather than playing with a sense of having everything on the line.
Of the two sides, Sunderland have the more stardust, especially in the attacking midfield positions in Tony Mowbray’s 4-2-3-1, with Patrick Roberts, Amad Diallo and Jack Clarke all enjoying stellar individual campaigns.
Roberts and Clarke are terrific ball-carriers with the former being one of the most creative wide men in the league, and the latter being directly involved in 20 league goals, while Diallo is capable of the spectacular – the loan star’s progress is being monitored closely by parent club Manchester United.
Sunderland vs Luton Tips
Luton rely on their centre-forwards for productivity, with Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo directly involved in 38 league goals between them.
Outside the duo, however, nobody has scored more than three, so if anyone scores for Town, it’s likely to be Morris, who has scored a whopping 20.
Enjoying an outstanding first season at Kenilworth Road after moving from relegated Barnsley last summer, the former Norwich trainee is an appealing 12/5 to score anytime.
Sunderland might have more potential goalscorers – they have five players available with four or more league goals, in contrast with Luton’s three – but the visitors have more stability at the back.
The Bedfordshire outfit boast a defensive trio of Gabriel Osho, Tom Lockyer and Amari’i Bell, with Marvellous Nakamba bringing excellent protection in midfield.
Sunderland, by contrast, will be without up to six first-team defenders, with four including Danny Batth and Dan Ballard confirmed absent, and Dennis Cirkin and Lynden Gooch doubts.
It’s a credit to the mentality of the group, and Tony Mowbray’s adaptability, that the Wearsiders have got into the Play-Offs in these circumstances, especially when considering the injuries to strikers Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms earlier in the campaign.
In adversity, Trai Hume and Luke O’Nien have forged a surprisingly good defensive partnership.
It’s one thing adjusting to circumstance for a one-off league game, but it’s hardly ideal to have to do so for the Play-Offs, and having a patched up defence as well as missing a clinical goalscoring presence up top could hurt their chances.
Luton, by contrast, have been rock solid, losing just one of their final 20 league games, with that defeat coming to champions Burnley, and conceding only 10 in that timeframe.
Rob Edwards has got the Hatters playing more football on the deck than they were under Jones, he’s got them well-organized and guided them to their highest finish in over 40 years – Town are rightly favourites to make Wembley, but both clubs are on the up.