Town head to the South Coast on Saturday afternoon for their Emirates FA Cup third round tie against Premier League outfit AFC Bournemouth.
Both teams enter the competition at this stage – the first time the Town have done so since 2007, their last campaign in the Championship.
Since changing name from Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic in 1971, the Cherries haven’t got past the fifth round – a feat they have achieved twice; in the 2015/16 season and in the 1988/89 campaign.
Town reached the final of the competition in 1959, but were defeated 2-1 by Nottingham Forest in front of a 100,000 strong crowd at Wembley.
More recently the Hatters reached the fifth round in 2012/13, famously beating then Premier League Norwich City as a Non-League club. We have reached the third stage of the competition three years in a row prior this campaign, having entered at the first round stage.
The match itself will kick-off at 5.31pm as part of the Heads Up campaign, giving supporters a minute to think and reflect on their mental health. You can find out more information on this by clicking here.
GRAEME JONES SAID:
(Quotes taken from this afternoon's Press conference, which iFollow Hatters subscribers can view by clicking here)
On whether the FA Cup is a welcome distraction: "Yes, because obviously we want to win and we want to be competitive, but it gives me an opportunity to look at one or two players in a different light and I'm excited by that."
On how big a challenge it is facing Bournemouth: "Huge. I watched the West Ham game and they played three different shapes in the game. Tactically Eddie is switched on and it'll be a big challenge. They are an established Premier League team. I know Jason Tindall, the assistant. I know Simon Weatherstone, Tinnie, he's my mate who is the first team coach there. I know what they've done at the club. The stadium can be a real up and at 'em kind of atmosphere. It really generates a good noise, so we are going to have to be competitive. We need to be ready for it because after their last result and our last result, you've got two teams who are desperate to win."
On squad fitness and players returning: "Simon Sluga has trained today and he looks better, so that's a bonus. But we picked up one or two at Millwall who we are going to take with us and assess tomorrow morning, because we have to. We haven't got a thick squad, so everybody is travelling and we'll see where we are in the morning. I'm still assessing but Glen Rea is travelling with the group. Glen is somebody I'm considering, definitely."
On Harry Cornick going back to former club Bournemouth: "I'm sure he is (looking forward to it). Harry's dipped a little bit lately, but he's done really well over the course of the season. He didn't start at Millwall, so I'm sure he's got energy and a point to prove. He goes back (to Bournemouth) as quite an established Championship footballer, which is something he should be proud of."
On FA Cup history: "When I was at Wigan we drew Bournemouth in the third round of the FA Cup. We drew 1-1 at home and had to go back to Bournemouth ten days later for a replay. A guy called Mauro Boselli, who we signed from Argentina, scored the only goal that night. We won 1-0 to start a cup run that ended with us actually winning the FA Cup in 2013, so in football, you never know!"
Relegated from League One in 2008 after picking up a ten points deduction, the Cherries survived the drop from League Two having also been given a 17 point deduction. From there, under Eddie Howe, they have gone from strength-to-strength, winning three promotions in the space of five years. Now in their fifth campaign in the Premier league, Bournemouth sit 18th in the top tier.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Kick-off is at 17:31pm on Saturday 4th January 2020. The venue is the Vitality Stadium, traditionally known as Dean Court and currently able to hold 11,329 spectators. The post code for the Town supporters heading to the south coast is BH7 7AF.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Saturday’s game against the Cherries will be refereed by Darren England, who has overseen 18 games so far this campaign, dishing out 46 yellow cards, but no red cards. He last took charge of a Town game when Graeme Jones’ side defeated Charlton Athletic 2-1 at Kenilworth Road.
Tickets for tomorrow’s game are now off sale. Almost 2,000 Town fans will be at the game. Please be advised that there is NO 'Pay on the Day' available.
Town last took on Bournemouth in 2009, drawing 1-1 at Dean Court. A well documented campaign for both sides, as Saturday’s hosts survived their points deduction, whilst the Town weren’t quite so fortunate in the fight to overcome the minus-30. In total we have played each other 60 times, of which the Town have won 21, drawn 16 and lost 23 times.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
The main blow-by-blow account of the action from the Vitality Stadium will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website, which you can access by clicking here.
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/
Please be advised that due to this match being a cup tie, there will be NO live video stream available for iFollow subscribers.
Supporters at home and abroad will be able to tune in for the audio commentary with Simon Pitts, however.
You can subscribe or purchase a match pass by clicking here.