All you need to know and more ahead of home league opener
Luton Town v Oxford United
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 15th August 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live coverage on lutontown.co.uk and Hatters Player
• First home league game of the campaign
• Both sides drew opening game of the season
• Town beat Bristol City on Tuesday night
• Oxford won 4-0 at Brentford
• United not won at Kenilworth Road since August 1998
•Minute’s applause for Andy King before kick-off
TICKET NEWS. A big crowd is expect to click through the Kenilworth Road turnstiles on Saturday so make sure you get to the ground in plenty of time. Cash turnstiles will be available, subject to availability. You can also buy tickets online, and you can do that by clicking here.
MINUTE’S APPLAUSE I. It was with sadness that former player and member of staff Andy King passed away in the summer. To remember and celebrate Andy’s life and career, please join us in a minute’s applause shortly before kick-off.
MINUTE’S APPLAUSE II. We were also made aware of the sad loss of devoted Hatters fan Tom Close, aged just 20. During Saturday's game Tom’s family and friends will be remembering his life with a minute’s applause in the 20th minute. Please feel free to join in. A flag in memory of Tom will also be on display which was paid through donations from friends, family and fellow supporters.
WHO? Oxford United, aka the Yellows, aka the U’s, from Oxford, Oxfordshire. They hail more precisely from the Kassam Stadium – a ground built as recently as 2001 which is probably most famous – or infamous – for its three sides and bizarre light blue seats. They were formed 122 years ago in 1893 as Headington United and their biggest day in the limelight came when they lifted the League Cup in 1986.
IN CHARGE. Michael Appleton begins his second season in charge of the Yellows, having taken over in July last year. A midfielder during his playing days, he began in the youth ranks at Manchester United but made his name at Preston. The job at the Kassam is his fourth, having also led Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn. Although he was only in office at Ewood Park for 76 days before he was sacked.
THIS SEASON. If you believe the bookies then expect Saturday’s visitors to be celebrating promotion come the end of the campaign. United’s close season transfer activity has really caught the Oxford public’s imagination and hopes are high that United can challenge for a promotion. The Yellows haven’t played in the third tier since the very early 2000s, and, like the Hatters, they spent their fair share of time in the Conference until promotion via the Play-Offs in 2010.
FORM. United drew their opening game of the season 1-1 at home to Crawley but caused one of the shocks of the first round of the Capital One Cup with a 4-0 win away to Brentford on Tuesday night. Expectation will no doubt have risen among the United faithful.
NEW BOYS. So why all the confidence behind a successful season for the U’s we hear you ask? Well Appleton’s side ended the campaign on an eight-match unbeaten run, winning five and drawing three of those games. Among those results was a fine 3-2 win at Wycombe. One of the stars of the Oxford side that did so well at the end of the season was Kemar Roofe, an exciting winger who scored six goals in 16 games while on-loan from West Brom. Over the summer he put pen to paper on a permanent deal at the Kassam and big things are expected of him this term.
PREVIOUS FORM. The two clubs have met a total of 36 times down the years, not bad considering the first meeting took place as recently as 1970. The Hatters hold the advantage in the head-to-head record, winning 16 times to Oxford’s 12. Eight of the matches have ended in draws. A total of 117 goals have been scored, with the Town notching 65 of those. Last season the Town won the fixture here 2-0 thanks to goals from Luke Wilkinson and Jake Howells, while the clash at the Kassam ended 1-1 with Jayden Stockley scoring for the Town.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. John Still has no fresh injury worries ahead of the game – but the boss has plenty of decisions to make after watching a much-changed team beat Bristol City in the week. Magnus Okuonghae is unlikely to feature, but he is now nearing match-fitness. Still will need to choose who plays in goal, and whether or not Jack Marriott starts after his two goals on Tuesday.
LIVE AND ONLINE. As ever, we’ll be reporting live from Kenilworth Road. Build-up starts at 12 noon, so get on our early blog on the Wall for all the latest updates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for photos, videos and all the behind-the-scenes action. Hatters Player subscribers will be able to listen to live commentary from just before 3pm, with Simon Pitts joined in the press box by former Town winger JJ O’Donnell. Post-match remember to check out the official website, YouTube channel and Player for reports, interviews and photographs and don’t forget to tune in from midday on Sunday for all the highlights in glorious HD!