All you need to know ahead of tonight's game
WHO? Southport, aka the Sandgrounders, aka the Port, aka the Yellows. Tuesday’s visitors were formed in 1881 – and are therefore four years older than the Town. Southport started out as life known as Southport Central.
COME ON YOU VULCANS. Back in 1918 Southport changed their name to Southport Vulcan, having been bought by the Vulcan Motor Company. It’s a rare thing in English football for teams to take on company names but the Sandgrounders were known as Southport Vulcans for three years. It’s an early forerunners to the likes of Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and Evian Thonon Gaillard in France.
LAST TIME HERE. The Town were victorious when the two sides last met at Kenilworth Road in late September last season. Stuart Fleetwood had the Hatters ahead inside four minutes but a certain Andy Parry levelled for the Sandgrounders on the stroke of half-time. However, the Town upped a gear in the second period and two goals from Scott Rendell – including one from the penalty spot – secured all three points in front of a crowd of 5,696.
HEAD-2-HEAD. Of course there’s no forgetting that the Town got off to this season on the wrong foot with a 1-0 defeat against Tuesday’s visitors at Haig Avenue on the opening day. That victory was Southport’s fourth against the Hatters in 16 games. Overall the Town have the upper hand, winning eight whilst four have also ended in stalemate.
FORTRESS KENILWORTH. The Town are unbeaten and have won five of their seven meetings with the Sandgrounders on home soil, including the last four (three have which have come in the Conference). Parry’s goal last season was just the second time Southport have scored a goal at Kenilworth Road. In 2011/12 five different goalscorers helped the Hatters to a 5-1 win at Kenilworth Road and four prior in the previous season the Town demolished the Sandgrounders 6-0 with six different goalscorers, with four goals coming in the final six minutes.
A POINT’S A POINT. The last time Southport won a point at Kenilworth Road was 34 years ago in a goalless draw on 8th April 1969 in front of a crowd of 15,963.
IN CHARGE. Fast-forwarding back to the present day, the man charged with arresting Southport’s poor record at Kenilworth Road is manager Alan Wright. The veteran defender appeared 260 times in the Premier League and took over the reins at Haig Avenue this summer. His first win as the Sandgrounders boss was against the Town.
KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU. There are two former Sandgrounders in the Town squad, having made the move to Kenilworth Road in the summer. Midfielder Parry scored twice in 62 appearances for Southport whilst Whalley hit 27 goals in 98 games. Meanwhile, the Sandgrounders signed former Town midfielder Jamie Hand yesterday. Hand scored two goals in 15 appearances for the Hatters in 2011/12.
HOW THEY DOING? Southport will arrive at Kenilworth Road looking to improve a record of just two wins in 11 matches. The Sandgrounders have slid down the table after a promising start and find themselves in 18th place in the Skrill Premier table with six wins, three draws and 11 defeats from their 20 matches so far. It’s away from Haig Avenue that the Yellows have struggled, with just one win and one draw from their 11 matches. That sole win on the road came in their first away game of the campaign – a 2-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Hyde on 13th August. They travelled to Aldershot on Saturday, were 4-0 down at half-time and lost 5-1.
TABLE-TOPPERS. Despite their poor away form, the Sandgrounders are the only side this season to beat current league leaders Cambridge. Matty Brown’s second-minute goal have Wright’s side a 1-0 win at Haig Avenue at the beginning of November.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. Midfielder Jonathan Smith returns to the Town squad after sitting out Saturday’s 2-1 win over Welling through suspension. Hatters manager John Still has plenty options ahead of the Sandgrounders visit, but the game is likely to come too soon for strikers Alex Wall and Jon Shaw.
LIVE & DIRECT. We’ll have all the news as it happens from Kenilworth Road tonight. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it lutontown.co.uk, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds. And keep an eye on our Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts too for good measure #COYH.