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Preview: Villa to open EFL Cup campaign at Luton Town

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Aston Villa head to Kenilworth Road tomorrow looking to bounce back from an opening-day defeat at Hillsborough.

Luton Town v Aston Villa - Pre Season Friendly
Ashley Westwood of Aston Villa looks to play the ball watched by Jonathan Smith of Luton Town during the Pre Season Friendly match between Luton Town and Aston Villa at Kenilworth Road on July 23, 2013 in Luton, England.
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

There’s no remedy for a bounce-back win quite like a League Two side in the EFL Cup, right? Please? Don’t lose this, Villa.

I mean, in truth, the level to which I care about the result of tomorrow’s match is… not particularly high. It would be lovely to make a deep run in the competition, sure, but not if it affects the Championship campaign. Unlike the last few years, the club have a chance to actually win something through the league. That should be the focus, not this.

That said, when Villa make the trip down to Luton Town tomorrow night, it will be far from a pointless trip. Roberto Di Matteo should have an opportunity to work some guys into the mix that didn’t start Sunday at Sheffield Wednesday, giving them an opportunity to push for playing time when Villa host Rotherham United in the league at the weekend.

What to know about Villa

Solid performance, no points. Hey, at least it’s better than “didn’t bother to show,” right?

Simply put, it will be interesting to see how Di Matteo treats this match. He’ll likely play Mark Bunn in goal, though the real intrigue will be what he does with a pair of players returning from injury, Adama Traoré and Jordan Amavi.

Amavi, who still hasn’t made his official playing debut from an ACL tear in November, made the bench Sunday after getting sparing action during preseason. He’s the only competent fullback at the club, and he needs to gain match fitness as soon as possible, because I really have no interest in watching Aly Cissokho continue to struggle at left back.

On the other hand, we haven’t really seen much of Adama yet this year, but then again, Carlos Sánchez made it look like the “war machine” was raring and ready to go.

Whether or not Adama’s truly ready for a full match is another topic, but even 15 or 30 minutes from the man would provide a big boost headed into Saturday’s match with Rotherham.

Outside of those two, we’ll be tasked with tracking who else gets a start. Aaron Tshibola? Jack Grealish? André Green? Rushian Hepburn-Murphy? Di Matteo can use this match in a couple ways, and with a midweek league match next week, I think he’ll use it to get a bit of rest for many of his first-team regulars. We’ll see.

What to know about Luton Town

The Hatters may well have gotten off to the best start in the EFL this weekend, when they went away to Plymouth Town, last season’s losing play-off finalists, and won 3-0. Behind a stellar performance from Danny Hylton, Luton started the season with a bang, and they’ll be expected to push for promotion from League Two this term.

But no matter how good they looked away Saturday, they’re a League Two side. Please don’t mess this up, Villa.

The odds

The gulf in talent between the two clubs? Well, it’s well-reflected in the odds.

The shortest and longest odds for each result Wednesday…

Luton Town: 5/2 – 3/1
The draw: 23/10 – 14/5
Aston Villa: 6/7 – 21/20

The prediction

Aston Villa should do the trick here, no matter the named XI. I predicted a 2-0 win last week in the VPL, and I’ll stick with that here.