The message from Luton manager Rob Edwards ahead of the play-off decider in Sunderland

The Hatters’ dream of reaching the Premier League for the first time in their history suffered a setback on Saturday after Sunderland clinched a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light from an early deficit.

And Luton manager Edwards has stressed that his side will need to combine ardent desire with ice-cold thinking if they are to secure a place in the play-off final against Middlesbrough or Coventry at Wembley later this month.

“We have to stay calm because we need eleven players on the pitch, but we need fire and then we have to be ice cold at the right moment,” he said.

“We have to play with real fire and believe that tomorrow our life depends on it. We don’t want this to be the end, but this could be our last game of the season and we don’t want that to be the case.”

Edwards reiterated that message to the Luton fans, who he believes will play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of tomorrow’s clash at the packed Kenilworth Road.


He pointed to last month’s derby win over Watford and called for a similar “amazing” atmosphere to spur his side’s counter-try.

“We want the audience to be wild and energetic,” Edwards said.

“We have to make it really difficult for them and we also need our audience to do their part. And we want to make sure we do our part and give our fans something to be happy about.

“The atmosphere at the Watford game was great and if we can do it again I’ll love it and we’ll need it too.” I think that was great publicity for Kenilworth Road when they’re at their best is.”

Luton have not played in the top flight since being relegated from the old First Division in 1992 – the year before the Premier League was launched – and has even dropped out of the Football League in the meantime.

But after finally exiting the Conference after a five-year exile in 2014, they enjoyed a remarkable rise and if they could beat Sunderland they would be just a game away from returning to the top of English football.

Defender Amari’i Bell, whose side went 14 games unbeaten before the first leg against Sunderland, said of the second leg with the Black Cats: “I think it’s the biggest game of most of our careers.

“We have to go out there and give it our all. I think everyone is excited, looking forward to the challenge and enjoying the position we’ve put ourselves in.

“It’s been a long time since we last lost and we’ve forgotten what it’s like to lose. We’re not used to it but we know we need to bounce back and when that happens (lose) we usually do so it’ll be a good draw.” The message from Luton manager Rob Edwards ahead of the play-off decider in Sunderland

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