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Harper on the Hatters: Luton’s revival secret revealed in special moment

Against all the odds and expectations, Luton Town will go into the final match of the Championship season on Wednesday night with their survival prospects in their own hands, courtesy of a fine 1-0 win over Hull City on Saturday afternoon.

Even by Hatters’ standards this has been a crazy campaign at Kenilworth Road. It started well enough under Graeme Jones, but two runs of five successive defeats followed before January was out.

It took a while for Luton to find form again but such is their luck, just as they were beginning to build up a head of steam, a global pandemic arrived and the game was shut down.

Such was the uncertainty that developed, the Hatters hierarchy parted ways with Graeme Jones and shocked their fans far and wide when they reappointed his namesake Nathan Jones, the man who was once idolised but become unpopular with so many after he left in acrimonious circumstances less than 18 months earlier.

The move has turned into a masterstroke as Luton finally came out of the bottom three in the virtual Championship table, when the 12-point deduction for Wigan Athletic is applied.

Such has been the toughness of the season, this is the first time since Boxing Day the Hatters have been outside the relegation zone, and if they beat Blackburn Rovers at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday they will guarantee another year of Championship football.

Many things have been debated over what the turnaround has been down to. The arrival of Cameron Carter-Vickers from Spurs in January, the return from injury of Glen Rea and the improved form of Simon Sluga have all been mentioned, but when Kazenga LuaLua scored the vital goal at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday, we saw what the real reason is.

As the ball hit the back of the net, every player either on the pitch or in the stands having been substituted or waiting to go into battle, and every member of coaching staff embraced as one in celebration to highlight the togetherness of everyone in the squad.

What Luton lack in budget and resources at Championship level, they more than make up for in heart and team spirit. That was clear to see inside the KCOM Stadium.

The Hatters will be hoping those attributes can lead them to one more win to secure what would go down as one of the unlikeliest of escapes.

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