All you need know ahead of the Town's trip to Southend
Southend United v Luton Town
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 25th April 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Town eighth, level on points with final Play-Off place
• Southend fourth, level on points with final automatic place
• Hatters kept three clean sheets in last four
• Shrimpers won last six games without conceding
WHO? Southend United, aka the Shrimpers, aka the Blues, from Southend-on-Sea in Essex. Formed 108 years ago in May 1906, they are currently managed by Phil Brown and play their matches at Roots Hall. Their nickname the Shrimpers in reference to the area’s maritime industry – as indicated in their club crest.
WHERE? A trip to Southend, 67 miles by road from turnstile to turnstile, takes about 90 minutes on a decent day. It has only been until relatively recently that the Shrimpers have played at Roots Hall. The stadium which now holds 12,392, was built in 1952 and opened three years later. The club occupied the Roots Hall site in their early years before the stadium was built and then went onto play at the Southend Stadium. Hatters fans have been given the all-seater North Stand behind the goal – the site of a former covered terrace. Good luck if you need leg room!
HOW TO GET THERE? M1 south, M25 clockwise, M127. From M25 take Junction 29 and follow the A127 to Southend. Continue towards the town centre, through the lights near to the Bell Pub. At the next roundabout turn right, continuing on the A127. The ground is on the right just past the next traffic lights. If you turn right as you reach the ground, this will put you behind the away end where there is plenty of street parking to be found. Otherwise there is a car park at the ground, behind the Main Stand which costs £5. Bear in mind that if the weather is pleasant enough the whole of East London heads down the A127 on a Saturday afternoon, so allow an extra half-hour if the temperature is on the warm side! The postcode for Roots Hall is SS2 6NQ.
TICKET NEWS. Hatters fans have cottoned on to the fact that this is going to a right humdinger of a League 2 fixture with three crucial points at stake for both clubs. Only 200-odd tickets remain of the Town’s 2,466 allocation. No tickets will be available on the day at Southend but tickets can be collected at Roots Hall if ordered at the Luton Town ticket office. Tickets go off sale at 3pm. Click here for more information.
HOW THEY DOING? Very well. The Shrimpers still stand a good chance of grabbing the final automatic promotion place after winning their game in hand against Bury on Tuesday night. Those three points lifted them into fourth place and level on points with third-placed Wycombe. Brown’s side have been in the top seven for almost the whole campaign, and they will be aiming to go one better this season after losing in the Play-Offs at the semi-final stage to Burton last year.
CURRENT FORM. Ominous. The Shrimpers are unbeaten in seven games – without conceding. Brown’s side have won their last six, too. They haven’t conceded a goal in 630 minutes.
HOME COMFORTS. Brown’s boys have been in ruthless form on home soil, losing just three times and conceding just nine times. The Hatters will be tasked with trying to become the first team to score a goal against Shrimpers goalkeeper Daniel Bentley at Roots Hall in 13 matches. The last team to take anything from Roots Hall were Cambridge in a goalless draw on 21st March. Accrington were the last team to win at Southend – back on Valentine’s Day.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? Saturday’s meeting will be the 86th meeting between the clubs. The Hatters hold the edge in the head-to-head records, winning 38 to Southend’s 28, while 19 of the 85 matches have ended all square. Although the Town hold sway at Kenilworth Road, the Essex club have won the last two meetings at Roots Hall. The Hatters’ last win at Southend came in the Championship in April 2007 when goals from Calvin Andrew, Matthew Spring and Besian Idrizaj gave the Town a 3-1 win.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. Hatters midfielder Luke Guttridge twice won promotion while on the Shrimpers’ books. Winger Ryan Hall is another ex-Shrimper, while other players to have played for both clubs include striker Trevor Benjamin, defender Duncan Jupp and on-loan goalkeeper Simon Royce. On-loan striker Elliot Lee was on loan at Roots Hall earlier this season – but only for a matter of hours. The West Ham man tore a hamstring in his first training session back in November and the loan was immediately cancelled.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Hatters could welcome back midfielder Nathan Doyle from a calf strain but Alex Lawless is not quite ready to feature after overcoming a bout of shingles. Mark Tyler is close to a return but will not be risked. Paul Benson serves the second match of a three-game ban, while Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu remains the only player definitely unavailable.
REF WATCH. Berkshire official Iain Williamson takes charge of Saturday’s game. Mr Williamson has overseen 16 matches so far this season in which he has shown just one red card and 48 yellows. The last time he refereed a game involving the Town was a second round JPT tie against Brentford at Kenilworth Road in October 2008 that the Hatters went onto win on penalties.
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 Roots Hall. 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.