All you need to know and more ahead of Trophy trip
WHO? The Swans, as they’re known were formed in 1892 and currently ply their trade just one division below the Hatters in the Skrill South.
WHERE? Staines, is actually known as Staines-on-Thames, and the Swans play their home fixtures at Wheatsheaf Park which was rebuilt in 2003. From the Maple Road car park in Luton it’s precisely a 39-mile drive around the M25. For those who can’t turn tell their atlas from their elbow, punch in TW18 2PD into your trusty satellite navigation system.
TICKET NEWS. Whether you want to sit down or stand up, it’s the same price at Staines. Prices: £12 Adults, £6 OAPs, students with NUS card, £5 children under-16.
HOW COME? Both sides were paired together in the first round of the FA Trophy last week. Whilst the Town enter the competition at this stage, the Swans saw off Farnborough in a replay last week in their third qualifying round tie.
BOB IT. It might be the Trophy, but the Bobbers Travel Club are still running a coach to Staines on Saturday. They are leaving at the bottom of Oak Road, outside the Methodist church, at 12 noon and the fare is £17 for adults and £15 for concessions.
ALL SQUARE. Should the tie end in a draw at the weekend then we’ll all be coming back to Kenilworth Road on Tuesday. Admission for supporters would be £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
HOME COMFORTS. The Hatters will find it tough on Saturday given the Swans’ record at Wheatsheaf Park this season. Marcus Gayle (yes, he of Premier League fame with Wimbledon) is the man at the helm and, up until Saturday, Staines had won all seven league games at home in the Skrill South. However, the Swans lost their 100 per cent record on Saturday, losing to Concord Rangers.
HOW THEY DOING? Staines lost on Tuesday night away to lowly Gosport Borough, a result which left Gayle’s side in 13th place in the Skrill South on 22 points from 15 games. It’s a position which is just three points off of the Play-Offs and nine points above the relegation zone.
RISE UP THE LEAGUES. The Swans, also occasionally nicknamed the Massive (remember Sasha Baren Cohen’s character Ali G hailed from Staines?), won promotion to the Conference South in 2009 after clinching the Ryman League Premier Division Play-Offs.
YOUNG GUNS. Town manager John Still has confirmed that the team to face Staines will be a young one with a host of youth team players called up to the squad. Zane Banton, Charlie Smith and Ian Rees, who have all been regulars for Under-18s and could also start at Wheatsheaf Park.
“We do our job properly, we’ll have two match reports. You build up a knowledge of players so I know a few of their players anyway if I’m being honest.
“But you know what, this isn’t like playing in the league, this is cup football and whatever we say cup football is different. The best won team won the Premier League last year, but the best team didn’t win the FA Cup, that’s not knocking Wigan, it happens in the cups. Over the course of the season the best team wins the league, but not always the best team wins the FA Cup, I told that to David James when Portsmouth won it, they weren’t the best.
“So it’s cup football and it’s different. Whatever our reports may say people sometimes find a bit more, an extra bit of this, bit of that in the cups. Bit of magic.”
TROPHY TALES. Saturday’s tie will be the Hatters’ 21st in the FA Trophy. The record in the competition stands at played 20, won 11, drawn five, lost four, scored 29, conceded 15. The complete record, if you want to impress your mates (or look a bit of a geek), is:
09/10 R1 Cambridge (a) L 1-3.
10/11 R1 Welling (h) D 0-0, replay (a) W 2-1; R2 Uxbridge (h) W 4-0; R3 Gloucester (h) W 1-0; QF Guiseley (a) W 1-0; SF1 Mansfield (a) L 0-1, SF2 Mansfield (h) D 1-1 (aet).
11/12 R1 Swindon Supermarine (h) W 2-0; R2 Hinckley (a) D 0-0, replay (h) W 3-0; R3 Kidderminster (a) W 2-1; QF Gateshead (h) W 2-0; SF1 York (a) L 0-1, SF2 York (h) 1-1.
12/13 R1 Dorchester (a) D 2-2, replay (h) W 3-1; R2 Matlock (a) W 2-1; R3 Skelmersdale (h) W 2-0; QF Grimsby (a) L 0-3.
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