All you need to know ahead of game with the Grecians
Luton Town v Exeter City
Sky Bet League 2
Friday 3rd April 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Town, eighth in League 2, lost last six league matches
• Hatters lost last two home games 3-2
• Exeter 11th, three points behind Town
• Stephen McNulty could return but Elliot Lee still out
WHO? The Town take on Exeter City Football Club, aka the Grecians on Good Friday. The club were formed 1904 years ago and are currently in their third season in League 2 following relegation in 2011/12. Like the Hatters, the Grecians spent five years in the Conference and ended their spell in the fifth tier by beating Cambridge in the Play-Offs final at Wembley in 2008. Boss Paul Tisdale has been in charge since 2006 and is the Football League’s longest-serving manager.
THIS SEASON. The Grecians have recovered from a bad start to the season to rise away from the relegation zone towards the relative comfort of midtable. City failed to win any of their first seven matches of the campaign, losing four. After a 1-1 draw at home to Oxford, Paul Tisdale’s side then four won matches on the spin all by a 2-1 scoreline – with three of those coming away from home at Cambridge, Tranmere and Dagenham & Redbridge. They arrive at Kenilworth Road with a better record on their travels than at home and are currently unbeaten in six matches, winning three and drawing three.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? The Town hold a decent record against the Grecians overall, winning 31 of the 59 previous meetings, which includes 12 matches (W6, L6) in the Southern League. The Hatters have drawn 13 and lost 15. At Kenilworth Road the Town’s record is much better, winning 19 of the 29 matches, with five draws and five Exeter victories. The last time the Hatters hosted the Grecians on Bedfordshire soil the visitors won all three points on their way to promotion from League 2 in March 2009. Adam Stansfield and Liam Sercombe had Exeter two goals to the good after half-an-hour, and although Tom Craddock halved the deficit the Town could not force an equaliser. The win was the Grecians’ first at Kenilworth Road since winning 2-1 in September 1964 in Division 3 (now League 1) in front of a crowd of 10,461. The Hatters’ last home win over Exeter came back in the Division 3 (now League 2) promotion season of 2001/02 when two goals from Steve Howard and one from Matthew Taylor gave the Hatters a comfortable 3-0 win in March 2002.
EX-FACTOR. A number of players have served both the Town and the Grecians, but three former Town managers all once played for Exeter City in their careers. David Pleat played 69 Football League games for the Grecians between 1968 and 1970. Ray Harford, who guided the Town to the Littlewoods Cup in 1988, played 55 games for City between 1966 and 1967. Meanwhile Paul Buckle had three spells as a player at St James’ Park before going onto manage the Hatters.
REF WATCH. Rob Lewis is Friday’s man-in-the-middle. The whistler will be taking charge of only his eighth game of the season, and his first at Kenilworth Road since the opening day of the 2007/08 season when the Hatters beat Hartlepool 2-1 in League 1! His last match officiating a Luton game came in August 2009 in 1-0 win at Forest Green Rovers. This season he has shown 15 yellow cards and sent two players off.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Town will check on the fitness of captain Stephen McNulty after he limped out of last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Northampton. Elliot Lee, Jake Howells, Scott Griffiths and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu are all out, while the Hatters will also assess the match-fitness of midfielders Nathan Doyle and Jonathan Smith after the pair came back from injury to play 90 minutes last Saturday.
IN THE OTHER CAMP. Exeter will be missing top goalscorer Tom Nichols following his red card last weekend against Morecambe. Boss Paul Tisdale as doubts over Tom McCready and Liam Sercombe while experienced striker Clinton Morrison hasn’t trained all week. Christian Ribeiro came off in the Morecambe game and is hopeful of making a return but Pat Baldwin and David Noble are out long term. “We have five or six players there that we are yet to establish whether they’re fully-fit and we’ll have to go to the last minute to find out,” Tisdale told the official Exeter website.
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.