All you need to know and more ahead of Saturday's game
Oxford United v Luton Town
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 7th February 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Hatters fourth; Oxford 15th
• Town unbeaten in seven in L2 (W3, D4)
• Oxford won three of last 10
• Hatters taking over 2,000 fans
WHO? Oxford United, aka the U’s, aka the Yellows. At the helm is Michael Appleton who took over at the Kassam Stadium over the summer from former Hatters midfielder Gary Waddock. The U’s won promotion from the Conference via the Play-Offs in 2010 and have come close to reaching the League 2 Play-Offs in each of the last four seasons. Last season saw United finish in eighth place, one place and nine points off the Play-Offs.
WHERE? The Kassam Stadium has been United’s home since 2001 when they left the Manor Ground. The all-seated 11,000 arena offers an excellent view of the field from wherever you seat and Town supporters will have just over 2,500 of those to choose from. As of 11am on Friday we had sold just over 2,200 tickets.
HOW TO GET THERE? The quickest means of getting to Oxford time-wise would be to take the M1, M25 and M40 which, while longer in terms of mileage, can be seen as less time-consuming than going cross-country via Aylesbury and Thame. The stadium is quite well signposted from the main routes into Oxford, with brown football signs pointing the way. The stadium can be found in between the Oxford Science Park and Blackbird Leys Estate. From the A423 Ring Road, take the A4074 towards Reading. After the roundabout with Sainsbury's on one corner, take the left turning sign posted Cowley/Wallington/Oxford Science Park and you eventually come to the ground on your left. The postcode for those supporters with satellite navigation systems is OX4 4XP. If you want to go with the Bobbers, their coach departs Luton at noon. The fare is £17 for adults and £15 concessions. If you are driving – try and arrive early, parking is at a premium and the 1,600 spaces at the ground go pretty quickly on a matchday.
HOW THEY DOING? It’s been a bit of a stop-start season for Oxford so far this term with Appleton’s side currently sitting in 15th position in the League 2 table having taken 33 points from 28 matches. The U’s have won just three of their last 11 matches in the league and taken just five points from their last five matches. On home turf, United have won just four from their 14 games at the Kassam Stadium. Last weekend they won 2-0 at Stevenage.
HEAD-TO-HEAD. The Town have met Oxford a total of 35 times over the years, with the Hatters coming out on top in the last meeting back in September. That was the Town’s 16th win against the U’s, who have won 12 of the 35 matches. Seven have ended in draws. In games at Oxford the Town also have the upper hand, winning seven of the 18, losing six times and drawing five times. The Hatters have played twice at the Kassam Stadium, winning 2-1 on Boxing Day 2001 thanks to goals from Dean Crowe and Matt Spring. The U’s won 2-0 the last time the sides met at the Kassam Stadium, back in the Conference in 2009.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. Neither side have any current links to the other but many-a hero has played for both clubs down the years. Steve Foster is perhaps the most decorated having joined the U’s a year after lifting the Littlewoods Cup with the Hatters. In more recent years Asa Hall, Simon Heslop, Tom Craddock and Steve Basham have played for both clubs.
MILESTONES. Jake Howells is in line to make his 303rd appearance for the Town, while captain Stephen McNulty will make it to game number 99 if selected. Mark Tyler will play his 262nd match for the Hatters while Luke Guttridge will make his 50th appearance for the club should he feature.
REF WATCH. Richard Clark takes charge of his first-ever Luton game. The whistler has taken charge of 18 games this season, dishing out 52 yellow cards and brandishing the red one four times.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. Town are strengthened by Luke Wilkinson’s return to fitness after the defender hobbled off with a hamstring knock in last weekend’s win against Cambridge. He has trained all week, as have Alex Lawless, Luke Guttridge and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, who are all in contention for a place in the squad. That is also the case for new boys Ryan Hall and Nathan Oduwa who could be involved after joining the club this week.
IN THE OTHER CAMP. Striker Will Hoskins is the only absentee for Oxford, who also have Joe Skarz, Richard Brindley, Alex MacDonald and Jamie Ashdown vying for a place in the side - the latter two could be in line for their debuts after joining this week.
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 the Kassam Stadium. 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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