MATTY Pearson says he's hoping for a double celebration this weekend - an opening win for his Luton Town side in their televised clash followed by his birthday the following day.

The newly-promoted Hatters entertain Middlesbrough at Kenilworth Road tomorrow night, just hours before he celebrates his 26th birthday.

The former Oakbank School student admits it's been a busy pre-season with an end-of-season team trip to Las Vegas soon followed by a busy pre-season, which has seen Luton travel to Slovenia and Portugal for training and matches.

Now Pearson says he can't wait to get under way in the second tier after they were promoted from League One in April. They have since changed their manager with caretaker Mick Harford making way for former Belgium and Everton assistant manager Graeme Jones.

Pearson said: "We are looking forward to going out in the Championship. We're here to give it a good go.

"This season there's going to be more televised games. It's good for us.

"It's good to have the first game of the season. Our first game on Friday means there's no better way to start the season.

"I don't take too many thoughts about it being our first game. We're there to play a game. It's nice for me to be back in the Championship after being there with Barnsley before.

"It is another game against Middlesbrough. I just want to do as well as I can.

"The more you play football, the more the nerves settle down. We still get naturally nervous, but it's easier to control those. We know what to expect.

"We're not going into the unknown, we've all been there, in and around this league.

"The first game of the season is usually on my birthday. Last year I was staying in a hotel as we were playing Portsmouth away on the first day.

"My dad is coming down for the Middlesbrough game. A few of my friends are coming too. It's good that it's on TV as my grandparents can see the match.

"Pre-season has been good. Back to it and back to training.

"We went to Slovenia during our first week back. It was good to get away and good for us to get to know each other. We were doing three sessions a day.

"At this club the number of players we have signed in pre-season has not been too bad. Some clubs sign 10 or 11 players. We have signed five or six. Quite a lot of players have stayed."

Pearson added he and his squad are looking forward to proving any pundits wrong who may have predicted Luton will go straight back down from the Championship this term.

He said: "We don't read much into that. People have their own views.

"We want to go out and do as best as we can.

"People saying we're favourites to go down does not mean anything. Look at Leicester, no-one expected them to win the league. Teams go down who should not go down. Football is football."

Pearson says he is looking forward to playing at a host of the Championship's big stadiums, but is particularly looking forward to getting back to his Yorkshire roots.

He added: "I'm looking for all of the Yorkshire clubs away this season; Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday and also Blackburn Rovers because I used to play for them. It's a good opportunity for me to see people after the game.

"There are massive clubs in the Championship, it's an endless list."

Pearson was a rock at the heart of Luton's defence last season, playing 52 games including every league clash for the Hatters following last summer's move from Barnsley.

He previously played for Accrington Stanley after joining them from FC Halifax Town.

The former Long Lee Juniors player, who can play centre-half, has also featured in the EFL for Rochdale, having been on Blackburn Rovers's books as a youngster.

He has represented England Under-18s and the England C non-league team in 2013.

In addition to his team's success, Pearson has also enjoyed individual recognition this season.

He was shortlisted for the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans' League One player of the month prize for January. He also lost out on the EFL League One player of the month award for December.