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05 January 2019 Venue Hillsborough Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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Match Previews

FA CUP PREVIEW | THE TOWN VISIT SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

All the info you need ahead of the third round tie at Hillsborough, KO 12.30pm

4 January 2019

The Hatters head to Hillsborough this weekend for an Emirates FA Cup third round tie against Sky Bet Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, the only club in the top two divisions that the Town have never previously met in the competition.

Town reached this stage of the competition by defeating Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 at home in the first round, with Andrew Shinnie and James Collins grabbing the goals, and knocking out League Two Bury on their own Gigg Lane pitch a month ago thanks to Harry Cornick’s solitary strike.

The seven-goal forward is an injury doubt, along with goalkeeper Marek Stech and left-back Dan Potts, after limping out of New Year’s Day’s draw with Barnsley after picking up a knock to his ankle within a minute of appearing as a substitute. Midfielder Glen Rea is unlikely to play again this season after undergoing surgery on a knee ligament injury this week.

Hatters are currently second in League One and unbeaten in 15 league and FA Cup matches ahead of the third successive third round appearance under manager Nathan Jones, whose third anniversary in charge of the club comes the day after this tie.

The Owls currently sit ten places above the Town, 16th in the second tier and buoyed by a four-match unbeaten run over the festive period since parting company with manager Jos Luhukay on the Friday before Christmas.

Until that point the south Yorkshire outfit had won just once in ten matches, losing seven of them, to plummet towards the relegation zone. Successive 1-0 wins over Preston and Middlesbrough, followed by 1-1 draws against the latter’s fellow promotion contenders West Brom and Birmingham, meant caretaker-manager Lee Bullen more than steadied the ship ahead of Steve Bruce’s appointment as manager on Wednesday.

The former Aston Villa boss won’t take charge officially until February 1st, however, with his long-time coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence overseeing first-team affairs until that point. Bullen will remain part of the senior coaching set-up.

 

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On Hillsborough and Sheffield Wednesday: “It’s a wonderful place, with the history of it and the club they are. They’ve just changed manager. Everything about it is a great tie. It’s a real test for us as a group, and as a club, but a wonderful game and we won’t be going there to take pictures. It’s not that type of ground. It’s not the Nou Camp, but it’s a great historical English ground. It’s well renowned for the tragedy, and we’ll respect that, but I remember watching the FA Cup and it was a semi-final venue, and it’s been a European Championship venue. I remember Hillsborough and I remember things like Chris Waddle playing, Des Walker played for them. It’s a real historic club and a real good club. I’m close to Paul Hart and he tells me stories about it, so we know it’s a real good cup tie.”

On his team selection: “We’ve got to give the tie the maximum respect. We can’t go there and take it lightly, because Sheffield Wednesday are a perennial Championship side and have been a Premier League club. I played against them when they were in League One, but they are predominantly a top end side and they’ve just had a bit of a resurgence. Lee Bullen’s done a great little caretaker job there, and now they’ve got a new manager, which will again give them that little spark, so it’s going to be a massive game.”

On gauging his side against Championship opposition with a view to winning promotion this season: “Exactly, and that’s how we’ll treat it. It’s a chance to test ourselves, but also a chance to win a game because we are not going there to take photographs and buy a scarf. We want to go there and really put in a good show because we believe that we do good work. We believe that we do Championship quality work here. We believe that we’ve got a real good chance of getting to the Championship in the very near future, so it’s a good test. As a League Two side we played against Aston Villa, we played against Leeds United, we played against Ipswich Town, we’ve played against Newcastle United. We’ve played West Brom, and made eight changes against a top side, so we know what the Championship holds. We know that the gulf is big, it’s a big gap. But we know that we are well on the way to bridging that gap because to be where we are – to have the points that we have – then we know that we are reasonably competitive at that level if we were to get there. There is no fear with going there. Maximum respect, but no fear.”

YOU CAN NOW WATCH NATHAN JONES' PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE ON IFOLLOW HATTERS FREEVIEW BY CLICKING HERE

 

WHO?

A club with such a rich history, Wednesday nearly made a Premier League return both in the 2015/16 campaign and the following year, missing out both times as they were defeated in the play-offs. They spent nine consecutive seasons in the top tier, before suffering relegation in 2000. Their slump continued and they have had spells in League One, but have now been in the second tier for seven seasons. The Owls have won the FA Cup on three occasions, the most recent of those was in 1935, whilst they were runners-up in 1993 – the year in which they lost both FA and League Cup finals 2-1 to Arsenal.

 

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 12.30pm at Hillsborough on Saturday 5th January. An old ground with plenty of character, Hillsborough can host up to nearly 40,000 supporters. Their record attendance came when they played Manchester United in 2000, when 39,640 fans filled the ground. Even when they were in the lower reaches of the EFL, they still averaged crowds of over 23,000 during their League One campaign in 2004/05. Built in 1899, it was originally known as the Owlerton Stadium, before it was renamed after ground improvements.

Click here to find an away fan's guide to Hillsborough from www.awaygames.co.uk

 

TICKET INFORMATION

The Hatters have sold 4,219 tickets for the game at Hillsborough, with the match now off-sale. Thank you to everyone for such wonderful backing!

 

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Robert Jones will be taking charge of Saturday’s game. Jones is a Select Group 2/Championship official, who so far this season has shown 77 yellow and just the one red card in 23 matches. The only one of those matches in which he hasn't shown a card was his last in charge of the Hatters - in the Carabao Cup at West Brom in August.

 

PLAYED BEFORE?

Town have taken on Wednesday on 57 occasions, but never in the FA Cup. Our last encounter was a 3-2 win against them in 2007, when Bjorn Runstrom and Drew Talbot got on the scoresheet, as well as a Tommy Spurr own goal. Of those 57 games, the Hatters have won 16 times, drawn 20 and lost on 21 occasions.

 

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from Hillsborough will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website, which you can access by clicking here. (*Please note that the club's Live Text will appear only by accessing through an internet browser, users of the Luton Town FC app will receive updates from Opta...the EFL Digital team assure us they are working on a fix to get club updates onto the app)

The main moments from the game will appear on the Hatters' social media feeds:

Twitter – @LutonTown

Facebook – www.facebook.com/LutonTown/

Instagram – www.instagram.com/ltfc_official/

And of course Simon Pitts will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here. Please be aware that because it is an FA Cup game, there will be NO live video stream for overseas subscribers.

LIVE TV

If you are a Hatters fan based in one of the countries or regions listed below, however, you will be able to watch the match live as it was selected for international broadcast on the following channels:

Balkans – Sport Klub

China – PPTV

India – Sony

Myanmar – Eleven

Singapore – Singtel

USA – ESPN/ESPN+

Cyprus – TAF Sports

Malta – Go

Scandinavia – NENT

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | SHEFF WED 0 LUTON TOWN 0

Hatters match Championship side at Hillsborough to earn third round replay

5 January 2019

The Hatters were more than a match for Championship side Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this afternoon as they stretched their unbeaten run to 16 matches in all competitions to earn a third round replay in the Emirates FA Cup.

The real core outcome of the game though, was the feeling that the squad can really compete at this level and that the squad has come so far under Nathan Jones’ guidance, the day before his third anniversary in the job.

The result means the Hatters will be in the hat for the fourth round draw on Monday night - ball number five - and will entertain the Owls again in due course under the lights at Fortress Kenny.

The gaffer made one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Barnsley on New Year's Day, with Luke Berry making his first start of the season after battling back from that horrific injury suffered at Colchester on Good Friday, replacing Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu who dropped to the bench.

What better place to make your return to the starting line-up, than in the FA Cup third round, away at Hillsborough, with more than 4,200 travelling Hatters behind you!

It was the hosts that started quickest, producing a chance within two minutes - Barry Bannan crossing from the right to find Stephen Fletcher unmarked. The Owls' forward rose highest, but couldn’t keep his header down, rising just over the bar and James Shea, who was rooted to the spot.

The Hatters settled into the game though and looked comfortable at the level, with Berry playing a wonderful over-lapping pass through to James Justin, but his ball into James Collins, lurking in the area was judged offside.

Sonny Bradley had a good header blocked by Cameron Dawson in the Owls’ goal, but the centre-half’s physicality on the Wednesday defender proved to be too much for referee Robert Jones, giving the foul in favour of the home side.

Wednesday were back at it again with some decent one-touch play that sent George Boyd on his way in front of the Luton goal. The forward appeared to be through but Matty Pearson’s sliding challenge in front of the away stand was greatly received by the army of Hatters supporters behind the goal. 

Danny Hylton got the better of his former Aldershot team-mate Michael Hector to win the Hatters’ second corner of the afternoon, cleverly putting it past him on the by-line until his run was eventually stopped. However, the corner quickly dissolved into a Wednesday attack.

Adam Reach, with a neat first touch, took the ball away from the Hatters defence and the ex-Middlesbrough man fired at goal. Shea had to be ready for it, diving quickly down to his right as the ball sailed narrowly past the post. Fletcher was also a menace throughout the half, doing well in the six-yard box to create space, inviting several uneasy crosses.

There was another brilliant passing move from the Hatters, making its way to Justin on the edge of the area moments later, the defender hitting it too, but the shot never going to worry Dawson.

Andrew Shinnie then collected the ball in his own half and, following by a slick one-two with Hylton, the Scot drove towards the penalty area, but his shot was blocked. 

The final chance of the half fell to the Hatters again, when Justin picked out Berry, whose shot from range was on target but not hard enough to trouble Dawson, who safely held the midfielder's clurliung shot.

The second half contained more promise as seen in the opening 45 minutes, the Hatters looking as if they had gained in confidence, playing more of the free-flowing attacking football that Kenilworth Road has become accustomed to throughout the course of this campaign.

Jack Stacey worked hard down the right throughout, on one occasion finding Berry’s outstretched leg at the far post. The midfielder couldn’t force his touch on target though.

‘He’s one of our own’ filled Hillsborough’s historic walls when Justin slid in to make a saving challenge to break down the Wednesday attack, winning a free-kick in the process. It was a memorable moment for the 20-year-old who has been outstanding so far this season.

The Owls continued to probe too, Matias forcing a terrific save from Shea in his final contribution before being substituted. It looked to be heading in at the near post, but the keeper got a strong hand on it to paw it out of play for a corner.

The Hatters keeper was called upon once more seven minutes later, just about tipping a cross away from danger as he fell backwards in a crowded area. The shot-stopper, as well as the whole squad, looked more than comfortable on the day though, dealing with pressure from a side who were unbeaten in four Championship matches.

Bradley even had time to go on an attacking run, battling forward with the ball fown the left as the game entered its final third. Although he was eventually stopped by three men in a Wednesday shirt, his effort and determination to make it up the field was remarkable.

It could have gone either way as the game became stretched at the end, two good sides trying to grab a late winner. Shinnie sent over a well-placed cross that Hylton couldn’t get on target and Bannan hit a good volley that made its way into Shea’s arms comfortably.

A draw was a fair result though, and an excellent result for the Hatters who looked more than capable of playing just as well as a Championship side, especially at such an iconic stadium.

Nathan Jones lapped up the applause at the end, and rightly so, building a side that the fans can get behind and be proud of. 

The Hatters will now turn their attention to next week’s top of the table clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, where they’ll be hoping to grab three important points to keep them in the top two. 

 

TOWN: Shea, Justin, Pearson, Bradley (C), Stacey, McCormack, Berry (LuaLua 82’), Shinnie, Lee (Jarvis 89’), Hylton, Collins (Mpanzu 66’). SUBS NOT USED: Jones, Sheehan, Grant, Isted.

 

WEDNESDAY: Dawson, Palmer, Fox, Fletcher (Nuhiu 76’), Bannan, Lees (C), Matias (Winnall 58’), Reach, Boyd, Hutchinson (Pelupessy 26’), Hector. SUBS NOT USED: Wildsmith, Thorniley, Baker, Shaw

 

Yellows: Reach

 

REFEREE: Robert Jones

 

ATT: 16,974 (4219 Away)

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