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Match Previews

PREVIEW: HATTERS v WEST BROM

4 October 2016

Nathan will have his team prepared for Baggies youngsters

Hatters boss Nathan Jones will be well armed with information on the young West Brom team that comes to Kenilworth Road for this evening’s Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group H match, which kicks off at the earlier than usual time of 7.30pm.

The Town gaffer says he regularly watches Albion’s Under-21 side’s matches and has prepared for the club’s first game against a Category 1 academy side just as he would for a Sky Bet League Two fixture.

“We get games covered all the time,” said Jones at his Ely Way Press conference yesterday. “We watch West Brom’s games anyway, regardless of if we are playing them or not. We watched them against Brighton. You can get footage of all of their games, so it’s the same preparation as for any of our league games.

“I can’t second guess what West Brom are going to do. We want to win the game and we want to go as far as we can in the competition, we’ve treated the game with the respect it deserves, and tomorrow you’ll see that. 

“Whatever West Brom do, West Brom do. It’s not my call. They have a manager, they have a structure there, they have an academy Under-23 manager and so on, and I’m sure they’ll come here wanting to win the game as well.”

Jones’ knowledge of the Hawthorns youngsters stretches to him enquiring about bringing one of the Albion prospects to Bedfordshire on loan recently.

The Welshman said: “We’ve enquired about one of their players, it would be wrong to say which one, but he quickly went to be involved with the first team, so they’ve got a few good youngsters there. 

“It’s obviously a good gauge for them and it’s obviously a good gauge for us because if any of them stand out and can cope at the level we need them to be, then there could be potential there.”

In the event that tonight’s match ends in a draw each team will be awarded one point. However, there will be a penalty shoot-out with the winners gaining an additional point to their total in the group stage.

The new format of the competition, with 16 Category 1 academy teams invited to participate, is a one-year pilot aimed to help clubs develop young homegrown players.

The invited clubs - ten from the Premier League and six from the Championship - must field six players under the age of 21.

Unreserved seats are still available to purchase in advance from the Ticket Office or online. Cash Turnstiles will also be available for the game tonight, with anybody 16 and over paying only £5.

Supporters Under 16 can gain free entry, however, these tickets need to be obtained from the Ticket Office either in advance or on the night.

Anyone not at the game tonight can follow the action with live updates on Twitter, or with the excellent commentary of Simon Pitts on Hatters Player.

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