All you need to know ahead of clash with the Pirates
Luton Town v Bristol Rovers
Sky Bet League 2
Tuesday 18th August 2015, kick-off 7.45pm
Official live online commentary on Hatters Player
• Town looking for first league win of the season
• Rovers won one and lost one so far in League 2
• Visitors unbeaten in 21 league away matches
• Hatters set for 3-5-2 formation once more
•Town lead H2H record 46-45
•First meeting since Boxing Day 2007
TICKETS. Fancying coming the game? Well, tickets for the match are now on sale at the ticket office at category C prices. Click here for more information.
WHO? Bristol Rovers, aka the Gas, aka the Pirates, from Bristol, make the journey across the M4 to make their first visit to Kenilworth Road since September 2007. Last season saw Rovers make an instant return to the Football League having suffered relegation to the Conference at the end of the 2013/14 campaign. They won the Conference Play-Off final on penalties against Grimsby at Wembley. Until their relegation, the Pirates had been a member of the Football League since 1920.
IN CHARGE. Darrell Clarke masterminded Rovers’ return to the League at the first time of asking to complete a fairytale turnaround for the Pirates boss. The 37-year-old took over at the Memorial Stadium in March 2014 and couldn’t stop Rovers from sliding in the Conference. After an indifferent start to last season, the former Mansfield, Salisbury and Hartlepool man galvanised his team to reach and then win the Conference Play-Offs in his first full season in charge.
THIS SEASON. After such a strong end to last season and the success that came with it, it’s understandable that expectations at the Memorial Stadium are high once again now that Rovers are back in the Football League. The Pirates lost their first two matches, at 1-0 at home to Northampton in League 2 and 2-1 at home to Birmingham in the Capital One Cup – but on Saturday they won 1-0 at Yeovil thanks to a late goal from Ellis Harrison.
AWAY RECORD. Rovers arrive in Bedfordshire aiming to continue a remarkable unbeaten record away from home. The Pirates protect a 21-match unbeaten run on their travels (22 if you include Wembley). They lost three of their first four away games in the Conference, but Clarke’s side haven’t tasted defeat away from home in a league match since a defeat at Braintree on 6th September last year.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? The Town and Rovers have been regular adversaries down the years, with tonight’s meeting number 121. The Hatters shade the overall head-to-head record 46-45. 29 games have ended in draws. The most famous Hatters win is, of course, the 12-0 win in 1936, but Rovers’ biggest win over the Town was a 5-0 triumph in 1920. The last time the two side met came on Boxing Day 2007 when the Hatters earned a 1-1 draw at the Memorial Stadium despite having three men sent-off. Rovers won on their last visit to Kenilworth Road 2-1, with Matthew Spring scoring a penalty that needed taking three times.
FAMILIAR FACE. Hatters academy graduate Lee Mansell was a driving force behind Rovers’ return to the Football League last season. He scored the Pirates’ decisive penalty in the Play-Off win over Grimsby. Mansell, now 32, began his Town career with a bang, scoring a minute into his debut in an FA Cup replay against QPR in 2001. However the Hatters’ were denied a fourth round tie against Arsenal as Rangers levelled in injury time before scoring a winner in extra-time. In total Mansell scored 10 goals in 62 matches for the Town.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. John Still has no fresh injury worries ahead of the game and hinted he is likely to keep the faith with the same 3-5-2 formation which has been used in the last two matches.
LIVE AND ONLINE. As ever, we’ll be reporting live from Kenilworth Road. Build-up starts at 5pm, 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 7.45pm with Simon Pitts in the press box. 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 Wednesday for all the highlights in glorious HD!