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30 December 2016

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The Hatters are aiming to end 2016 with a win over Barnet

Town have the chance to end 2016 on the high it deserves as they take on ninth-placed Barnet at Kenilworth Road tomorrow.

Both sides have scored 31 goals so far this term, but the Hatters can boast a far tighter defence, conceding only 20 goals in the division, the best record out of the 24 sides in League Two.

Barnet have struggled for form at the Hive this season, but on the road have been at their best, matching Town’s four wins, four draws and two losses away from home.

The real test of a top side is their ability to beat sides around them, something the Hatters have more than proved so far this term.

Out of the seven sides that join the Hatters in the top eight of the division, Jones’ side have defeated five of them, drawing once and losing to only one.

Two of those wins include defeating the pair leading the way in the table, with the opening day 3-0 win against Plymouth and the 3-1 victory over Doncaster towards the end of September.

It’s fair to say the Hatters have been on the up since the arrival of Nathan Jones at the beginning of January and a win tomorrow could put the Welshman’s side in pole position as the main chasers of an automatic promotion spot ahead of Monday’s trip to Portsmouth, who currently occupy that berth.

The boss wants to end the year on a happy note, having suffered a home defeat on Monday against Colchester United.

In his notes for tomorrow’s matchday programme, Talk Of The Town, Jones writes: “You will have known from my interviews afterwards that I was so disappointed with the Boxing Day defeat to Colchester, more than anything by the fact that we had over 9,000 packed in here at Kenilworth Road for the first time this season and we couldn’t give you the three points such backing deserves.

“It’s been a really upbeat week since though, because the bigger picture tells us all that Luton Town is a club going places in 2017. We have made great strides in the 12 months since I took over, and there will be even more to come in the next year.

“There are so many positives when you cast your mind back to this time last year. With 22 games of last season gone – the same number of league matches we’ve played up to today – the team were 13th in League Two with 29 points. When I took over on 6th January, we were 15th with the same points from 25 games.

“With more than half the season to go, we currently have 35 points and sit fifth – having only dropped below that placing once all season – with our eyes firmly on the automatic promotion spots. That is our goal.”

Since Martin Allen departed Barnet for Eastleigh at the start of December, Rossi Eames, the Bees’ Under-21 boss has been in charge on an interim basis, assisted by Henry Newman, the Barnet youth team manager.

The pair have guided their side to two wins in three, with both of those victories away wins.

Netting a goal in each of their last two games, John Akinde has been the man in form for the Bees, having netted 18 goals in total this season. His impressive haul has him positioned as the top scorer in the division heading into this weekend.

This weekend’s match will be refereed by Mark Haywood who has overseen 21 matches so far this season, handing out 69 yellow cards and five red cards.

Tickets for the fixture are available from the ticket office in person, over the phone on 01582 416976, today and prior to the match on the day.

If you are unable to attend tomorrow’s match, make sure you follow the Hatters’ Wall on the club website, or if you are a Hatters Player subscriber, listen into Simon Pitts’ match commentary for Town’s match against the Bees.

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