Luton vs Middlesbrough preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football
Watch season-opener - Luton vs Middlesbrough - live on Sky Sports Football on Friday August 2 from 7pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm
Last Updated: 02/08/19 4:44pm
Graeme Jones and Jonathan Woodgate will take charge of their first competitive games in management when Luton face Middlesbrough on Friday.
Jones, long-time assistant to Roberto Martinez, has made the jump to the hotseat with Championship newcomers Luton and must decide which of his summer signings to throw into the fray.
Goalkeeper Simon Sluga, who became Town's record signing when he joined from HNK Rijeka in July, looks certain to make his debut. Martin Cranie, Brendan Galloway, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jacob Butterfield and Callum McManaman are the Hatters' other new arrivals.
Latest Sky Bet odds
Check out all the latest EFL odds and more from Sky Bet here ahead of the new season...
Former England defender Woodgate is now in charge of his home-town club Boro and reported positive injury news. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who has been sidelined with a calf injury since mid-July, and defender George Friend, who missed the end of last season and has featured just once in pre-season, are both expected to be fit.
Young defender Dael Fry, though, is unlikely to make the trip as he continues to work his way back to full fitness following a hamstring problem picked up in April. Woodgate must decide whether to give debuts to new signings Marcus Browne and Marc Bola.
Luton and Middlesbrough haven't faced in a league match since April 1995, a 2-1 win for Middlesbrough in the final ever match at Ayresome Park.
At Kenilworth Road, the last league meeting between Luton and Middlesbrough ended in a 5-1 victory for the Hatters in October 1994 under manager David Pleat.
Luton Town last started a league season at Kenilworth Road in 2017-18, when they hammered Yeovil Town 8-2 - becoming the first team to score eight goals in an opening day Football League match since Wolves in August 1962.
Middlesbrough have won on the opening day of a Football League season in just two of the last 18 seasons (W2 D8 L8), last winning away from home on MD1 in 2000-01 in the Premier League at Coventry City.
Luton Town are competing in the Championship for the first time since 2006-07 - they lost their last seven home games of that season but are currently unbeaten in 27 home league matches (W20 D7 L0) since losing 1-2 to Accrington Stanley in March 2018.
The last seven permanent Middlesbrough managers have all lost their first league match in charge - Steve McClaren (2001), Gareth Southgate (2006), Gordon Strachan (2009), Tony Mowbray (2010), Aitor Karanka (2013), Garry Monk (2017) and Tony Pulis (2017).
What an occasion this promises to be for Luton Town. From the depths of despair in non-league they have risen back to the kind of level where they should be competing, and Kenilworth Road will be rocking on Friday night.
Middlesbrough will always be among the favourites to win promotion from the Championship at the start of any season due to the size of the club and the quality of their squad, but it is a huge challenge for Jonathan Woodgate in his first managerial role. I fancy a draw here.
David Prutton predicts: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)