Tigers in Town
It's game on after a mid-morning pitch inspection at Kenilworth Road as Hyde are the visitors this evening under the floodlights in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Who? Hyde FC, aka the Tigers. They were formed in 1885 – the same year as the Hatters. In that time they’ve added a “United” at the end, before taking it away again as recently as 2010. Why? Well, it could be because neighbours Manchester City helped the club out with a bit of dosh to save them from going out of business. City play their academy matches at their Ewen Fields ground – and you wouldn’t want the word 'United' everywhere, would you?
Onwards and upwards. Last season the Tigers won the Blue Square Bet North title and with it promotion to non-league’s top-flight for the first time in their history. The elevation to the Blue Square Bet Premier came nine years after the club were relegated to the Northern Premier League Division One – three divisions below their current status. In 2004, they won the NLP Division One title before winning the NLP Premier Division title a year later.
Silverware. It’s not only league titles that adorn the Ewen Fields trophy cabinet, however. The club have won the Cheshire Senior Cup five times, the Manchester Premier Cup six times, the Manchester Senior Cup once, the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup three times, the Northern Premier League Chairman’s Cup twice and the Cheshire League Cup five times.
Did you know? England World Cup final hero Sir Geoff Hurst is president of the club. (No, I didn’t know that, thank you).
Luton link. Town favourite and current club chaplain Alan West was born in Hyde. Midfielder Alan began his career with Burnley before going onto make 317 appearances at Kenilworth Road between 1973 and 1981.
Remember me? The Tigers have one former Hatter in their ranks in their shape of striker Matthew Blinkhorn. He made three substitute appearances for the Town in 2004 whilst on loan from Blackpool. He signed for Hyde this summer and scored on his Hyde debut against the Hatters earlier in the season.
Oh I remember now...Blinkhorn’s goal put Hyde 1-0 up in the last and, indeed, only meeting between the two clubs. The Hatters fought back to win all three points thanks to late goals from JJ O’Donnell and Stuart Fleetwood.
How they doing? Not so great. The Tigers, who started slowly but steadily improved as the season progressed, will be looking to stop a run of six successive defeats tonight. Prior to today, Hyde have only won once in 11 games – and that came on the road at bottom-of-the-table Telford on 12th February.
Take note. While our visitors will still be in a relegation battle regardless of their result this afternoon, the Hatters will need to be wary that the Tigers can pull off the unexpected – just ask our visitors this afternoon. Hereford were on the receiving end of a 5-2 defeat at Ewen Fields back in September. The Tigers have also beaten Woking 7-0 and overcome promotion-chasing Grimsby and Newport.
Team news. Town boss John Still hinted he may tweak things for the Tigers’ visit. Scott Rendell (facial injury) may miss out. Janos Kovacs and Jon Shaw are not fit to feature as they continue their recovery from injury. Defender Wayne Thomas is available again after missing the last three games due to suspension.
Fancy it? You should do - and you can pay on the night at the ticket office, or the turnstile (if you're running late). Ticket prices here.
Still says: “Hyde will probably say to themselves, if we get something it will be great, but they’re also in a position where getting a point is not always good, they might need to win.
“If you have a way of playing and you keep going, what you do in the end is you grind teams down, wear them out.
“That’s where we’ve got to get to. When teams want to make things difficult for you, you mustn’t give them that opportunity to get settled, you’ve got to keep going and keep going.”
Live and online. We’ll have comprehensive coverage on lutontown.co.uk tonight. An hour before kick-off we’ll have the team news and then, when it all begins, sit back and enjoy live audio commentary on Hatters Player or minute-by-minute text updates via our social media channels. Once the game is finished they’ll be a full report, photographs, interviews and all the post-match reaction and highlights on the official site and Hatters Player. How’s that for coverage?