Your comprehensive guide to Saturday's gameLuton Town v Cheltenham Town
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 13th September 2014, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Hatters go in search of first home win in FL since 21st March 2009
• Cheltenham unbeaten in L2 this term with best defensive record
• Head2Head: Town wins: 2, Cheltenham wins: 2, Draws: 3
WHO? Cheltenham Town, aka the Robins. The Gloucestershire outfit were formed in 1887 but did not enter the Football League until they won the Conference under Steve Cotterill in 1997/98. Since their time in the League, the Robins have been promoted twice to League 1 but find themselves in League 2 this season for the sixth successive campaign. They are currently managed by former Kidderminster boss Mark Yates.
SINCE WE’VE BEEN GONE… Cheltenham were relegated from League 1 in 2008/09, the season the Town were themselves relegated out of the Football League all together. The Robins narrowly avoided a second successive relegation in 2009/10, finishing just two places above the League 2 relegation zone. After a 17th-place finish the following season the Robins then made the Play-Offs in 2011/12 and 2012/13, only to fail to win promotion on both occasions. In 2011/12 they reached the final, only to lose to Crewe, before a wonder strike from Luke Guttridge helped Northampton defeat them at the semi-final stage in 2013. Last season the Robins finished in 17th.
THE LAST TIME. The two clubs last met each other in an FA Cup second round tie at Kenilworth Road three seasons ago. The Robins were riding high in League 2 at the time and ran out comfortable 4-2 winners in an entertaining tie. Aaron O’Connor scored both of the Town’s goals. Who did Cheltenham draw in round three? Tottenham away.
HEAD-2-HEAD. Saturday sees the eighth meeting between the two clubs. Both teams have recorded two wins apiece, while three games have ended all square. The two sides first met in the 2001/02 season that saw both clubs win promotion from Division 3 (now League 2). The Town eked a 2-1 win in the first ever meeting thanks to goals from Paul Hughes and Carl Griffiths. The last Football League meeting between the clubs came in League 1 during 2007/08 with a Sam Parkin goal earning a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road in March. However, it’s been 12 years since the Town last beat the Robins.
THIS TIME ROUND. The Robins have started the campaign well and go into tomorrow’s game in second place in the League 2 table having won four and drawn two of their opening six League fixtures. An opening day win at Bury was followed by a 2-1 home win over Accrington. A 0-0 draw at Carlisle followed before a remarkable comeback at Tranmere saw the Robins fight-back from 2-0 down to win 3-2. A late goal was enough to beat Hartlepool 1-0 before Yates’ side briefly topped the table last weekend with a goalless draw at Morecambe.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. Few players have represented both the Town and Cheltenham down the years but the Hatters do have one man on their books who once spent time with the Whaddon Road outfit. Striker Paul Benson scored four goals in 18 appearances for the Robins in the second half of the 2012/13 season whilst on loan from Swindon. Another striker, Lloyd Owusu, also played for both clubs. The centre-forward, who scored seven goals in 15 Conference games for the Town in 2011, had previously spent one season at Cheltenham. He also netted seven goals during an 18-match spell at Whaddon Road during 2008/09. Cheltenham also have an ex-Hatter in their ranks in the shape of Asa Hall, who joined the Robins this summer. The midfielder joined the Town in 2008 and went onto make 89 appearances and score 16 goals during his time at Kenilworth Road. He was a member of the Hatters side that lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
REF WATCH. Saturday’s referee is Andy D’Urso, who takes charge of a Town game for the first time since the Hatters beat Northampton 1-0 (Adam Watkins with the winner) in an FA Cup tie at Kenilworth Road in November 2011. His previous game officiating the Town also came at Kenilworth Road, the night Mick Harford’s side reached the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after beating Brighton on penalties in February 2009. In the five games he's reffed this season so far the experienced whistler has branished 11 yellow cards and one red card.
ON THE DAY. 13th September. This time last year, on what was Friday 13th, the Town lost 2-0 at Wrexham in front of the BT Sport cameras. The Hatters wouldn’t taste defeat in the Conference for another six months and 27 matches…
TICKETS PLEASE! Hatters fans can still buy tickets for this match, either online at the online ticket hub, or on the day from the ticket office. Prices are £20 for adults, £15 for seniors and young adults, £12 for golden seniors, £8 for youths and £5 for juniors.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. New signing Nathan Doyle is not up to full fitness so is unlikely to make his debut after joining the Town on Thursday. After making a comeback as a second half substitute against Plymouth, Alex Lawless is sidelined once more after feeling a reaction to a hamstring problem. Matt Robinson serves the second game of a two-match ban, whilst Fraser Franks underwent a hernia operation this week and is also unavailable. Jonathan Smith played 90 minutes for the development squad on Tuesday but isn’t ready to feature fully as yet, but Paul Benson could return after a hamstring strain kept him out of last weekend’s defeat. Shaun Whalley is back in training after recovering from a foot problem. Andy Parry also remains unavailable.
LIVE AND ONLINE.Hatters Player is the only place to listen to online commentary of the Hatters this season and once again the DiverseFM team will be bringing subscribers all the action from Kenilworth Road. What’s more there will be a full report, reaction and photographs post-match and live text updates during the match itself.
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