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Match Previews


30 August 2016

Match Previews


30 August 2016

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Changes likely for Checkatrade Trophy trip

The Hatters head to Gillingham tonight for the first of three matches in the group stage of the revamped Checkatrade Trophy.

It is the second season in a row the Town have visited the Sky Bet League One Gills in this competition, with Cameron McGeehan netting in a 2-1 second round defeat last October.

With niggling injuries and illness taking its toll on a group who have had to play eight matches already in a season that is only 25 days old, manager Nathan Jones will give game time to members of his squad who have not featured regularly.

Speaking after Saturday’s excellent League Two win at Cambridge, Jones said: "We will treat the EFL Trophy with the respect it deserves, but we have a squad here that needs to play, that needs to do well and we will make the odd change."

One change is enforced through the absence of Glen Rea, following the midfielder’s call-up to the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for their UEFA U21 Championships Qualifying Round fixtures against Slovenia and Serbia.

Midfielder Olly Lee is carrying a knee injury, while Alan Sheehan remains sidelined with his calf problem and captain Scott Cuthbert is still working his way back to fitness after missing much of pre-season.

Speaking to this lunchtime, Jones added: “There has been such a high demand on our players in the opening three-and-a-half weeks of the season and it’s taken its toll.

“We are missing Glen, who will be absent on Saturday too, and the boys who are injured. We’ve also got the long-term injuries to Danny Green, Craig Mackail-Smith and Nathan Doyle, so we have to look after the players we’ve got.”

Fans travelling to Kent can pay on the turnstiles, but the cost of adult entry rises to £10 from the £5 pre-booked tickets that were on sale until 2pm today. Under-16s gain entry for £1.

John Busby is tonight’s referee, and as part of the new competition format, if the match ends in a draw at 90 minutes, a penalty shoot-out will follow with the winners gaining one extra point.

If you can’t make the game, which kicks off at 7.30pm, we’ll be tweeting live from Priestfield Stadium as well as posting a match report and gallery after the game with interviews with management and players in due course on the official website and Hatters Player, where you can also listen to live commentary from Simon Pitts. 

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