All you need to know ahead of the Town's FA Cup trip to the Abbey
Cambridge United v Luton Town
FA Cup third round
Saturday 3rd January 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Only tie which guarantees a League 2 side in round four
• Hatters already won at Cambridge in L2 this season
• Town fourth; Cambridge 14th in L2. U;s
WHO? Cambridge United, aka The U’s, from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. We know plenty about United having constantly watched their results each week as they battled with the Town for the Conference title. A Play-Off final win over Gateshead at Wembley saw the U’s join the Hatters back in the Football League and, so far this term, Richard Money’s men have performed well back in the League, currently residing in mid-table.
UP FOR THE CUP. Saturday’s game will be the Town’s first at the third round stage in two years – the season the Hatters went all the way to the fifth round. The Town and Cambridge have only met twice before in the competition, the most recent at the Abbey Stadium in the fourth qualifying round in 2012 when goals from Andre Gray and Jon Shaw secured a 2-1 win. However the club’s first ever meeting took place in the same stage of the FA Cup way back in 1910. The Town won that tie 9-1. The tie is the only one which guarantees a League 2 side in the fourth round.
WHO BEAT WHO? To get to this stage, the Town have beaten two opponent from League 2 already in Newport and Bury. Cambridge, who have won one of their last six in the league, have got to the third round stage by beating Fleetwood and Mansfield.
WHERE? The Abbey Stadium – Cambridge’s home since 1932 – is under an hour’s journey from Luton and approximately a 40-mile trip along the A505.
HOW TO GET THERE. Cambridge is a damn nice city, so why not take time before or after to explore what the streets have to offer? Then again, you could just take it easy, put your feet up and let a coach driver take you there. The Bobbers leave at midday from the Luton Town train station and the fares is £17 for adults and £15 for concessions.
TICKETS PLEASE! Those familiar with the Abbey Stadium set-up will know that the Hatters faithful will be allocated seats in the South Stand, that offer an obstructed, raised view of the action behind the goal. Remember this tie is all-ticket will no tickets available on the day at Cambridge – and all 1,400 tickets have been sold for this match so don’t travel if you haven’t got one!
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? Oh yes, definitely. There were no less than four meetings last season with the two clubs also meeting in the FA Trophy. Although the Town finished 19 points clear of United, the Hatters didn’t win any of those four matches. The Town were 1-0 victors in the League 2 meeting back in September (their first in league competition since the 4-3 triumph in 2009). And like last season’s last-minute equaliser, it was striker Mark Cullen who was the Town hero with the winner.
OLD BOYS NETWORK. Plenty of players have appeared for both the Town and Cambridge down the years (almost too many to remember), but two familiar faces occupy the Cambridge dugout. Manager Richard Money and coach Alan Neilson both spent time playing and managing the Town. United also have former Hatter Greg Taylor in their ranks, whilst the Town’s Luke Guttridge spent five years at the Abbey Stadium.
ON THE DAY. The Town have played 14 previous matches on 3rd January and haven’t lost one since a 1-0 home defeat to Birmingham in 1959. Since that loss the Town have won six and drawn one, including three FA Cup third round ties. In 1976 the Hatters beat Blackburn 2-0 at Kenilworth Road while in 1981 two David Moss goals helped the Town to a 3-1 win at Orient. The Hatters’ most recent FA Cup tie on 3rd January was a 2-1 win at Bradford City in 2004, where two goals from Adrian Forbes sent the Town through to round four.
REF WATCH. Tony Harrington takes charge of the Town for the second time this season. The whistler, who oversaw the Hatters’ 2-1 win at Stevenage this season, has shown 47 yellow cards in 17 matches. He has yet to brandish a red card.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Town squad is likely to be unchanged once more, with Paul Benson, Luke Guttridge, Alex Lawless, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Curtley Williams all unavailable.
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 Abbey 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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