All you need to know ahead of Saturday's game at Kenilworth Road
Luton Town v Hartlepool United
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 18th April 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Town eighth, three points off the Play-Offs
• Pools one place and one point above relegation zone
• Hatters lost last four home matches
• Hartlepool joint-worst away record in League 2
WHO? Hartlepool United, the football club from Hartlepool, formed in 1905, that’s who. We’ll be referring to them as Pools which isn’t a typo with that s on the end. Our visitors were once known as Hartlepools United. They’re currently managed by Ronnie Moore, who took over in December.
TICKET NEWS. Another big crowd is expected at Kenilworth Road so, as usual, it’s best to arrive early to beat the queues. If you haven’t got your ticket yet don’t worry – you can still buy on the day from the ticket office, or online via our eticketing website right here.
HOW THEY DOING? Not great – but better than before. Pools were in dire straits up until a month ago when they seemed destined for a drop down to the Conference. In their first 28 matches this season in all competitions they had won just four times. But Moore’s men have picked up form in their last eight matches, winning four and drawing two of those games. Pools lie just one place and one point above the relegation zone with Saturday’s visitors fighting to stay up with Tranmere and Cheltenham the two other clubs desperately trying to avoid the drop.
ON THE ROAD. Pools share the worst away record in League 2 with Portsmouth, having taken 15 points on their travels this term. Their four wins have come at Wimbledon (their first win of the campaign back in August), Exeter (in October) and, more recently in March, back-to-back awayday successes at Morecambe and Oxford. In Pools’ last two matches away from Victoria Park they have drawn 2-2 at Newport (having led 2-0) and lost, perhaps crucially, 1-0 at relegation rivals York. The latter saw over 2,000 Poolies make the trip to Bootham Crescent.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? Saturday will be the 19th meeting between the two clubs with the Town holding sway in the head-to-head record, winning 10 to Hartlepool’s seven. The two sides have only ever drawn once – a 2-2 draw here at Kenilworth Road in December 2001. Marvin Johnson curling home a memorable equaliser for the Hatters.
The Town’s 2-1 win at Victoria Park earlier in the campaign was the Town’s fifth win in their last seven meetings with Pools and their fourth on Hartlepool soil. Pools’ record at Kenilworth Road isn’t particularly impressive with the Hatters winning six of the eight meetings here. Hartlepool’s sole win at Kenilworth Road came back in 1967 – a 2-0 win on 27th March.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. Mike Newell managed both clubs and guided both two promotions – winning the League 1 title in 2004/05 and guiding Pools up from the old Third Division (now League 2) as runners-up in 2002/03. Steve Howard, the scorer of 103 goals for the Hatters began his professional career with Pools before a brief spell back with them two seasons back. Adam Boyd also spent two spells with Pools in between a £500,000 move to Kenilworth Road which saw him net just twice in 23 appearances.
REF WATCH. Lincolnshire-based referee Gary Sutton makes his first visit to Kenilworth Road since overseeing the Town’s 2-2 draw with Stoke in a Championship encounter in August 2006. This season he has officiated in 31 matches, booking 84 players and sending four off. According to Soccerbase, Mr Sutton once took charge of a World Cup qualifier between Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in March 2013.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Town will be without suspended Paul Benson after the appeal against his red card against Dagenham in the week was rejected. Alex Lawless remains unavailable with shingles, while Nathan Doyle (calf) could miss out after limping off in the midweek goalless draw. Mark Tyler and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu are also not fit for selection.
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 Victoria 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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WATCH THE GOALS: Last time we met, back in October, below.