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Match Previews

EMIRATES FA CUP MATCH PREVIEW: GATESHEAD V LUTON TOWN

2 December 2017

The Hatters head to Gateshead tomorrow looking to reach the third round of the Emirates FA Cup for the second consecutive season under manager Nathan Jones.

Town were 1-0 victors over Portsmouth in the first round, whilst the Tynesiders beat Buxton in the last qualifying round, before defeating Chelmsford City.

The Town could hardly go into the game in better form, having only been defeated once in their last 17 games, with Gateshead picking up two wins in their last four league games.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On facing Gateshead: "They will be a real test. In all we have watched six games of theirs. We usually watch five, but we have watched six because we have had a little bit of time, to be able to do that with the extra day.

"They have got some real good midfield players, they have got wide ones that cause you problems. We're well aware of their threats, but we also pose a significant threat ourselves, so that's what we will be concentrating more on. Just to reiterate, there will be no elements of lethargy in our preparation and hopefully none in our play.

"It would be wrong for me to single anyone out and give them a gee up in any way, but they have some real sound midfield players. Link players, that can get on the ball and want to play, and that's going to be diffocult. They are quite an expansive, good footballing side under Steve Watson, which you'd expect, and if they are a reflection of their manager, he was a fantastic player and a real combative player, so they'll have those characteristics. It's going to be a test."

On facing former Hatter JJ O'Donnell: "To be fair we've come up against a few of those lately in terms of players at Stevenage and Wycombe playing against their old club, and we've had favourable results. Let's hope we can do that again. I'm not concerned with any of Gateshead's players' ideal game. I just want my team to do well and play to the best of their ability, and if we do that we'll be reasonably confident.

"What happens on days like this is the so-called underdog will raise its game. The favourite, or the more fancied team, will not be at its best, and then certain things like conditions on the day and adrenaline comes into play, and that's when adverse results happen. What we have to make sure is that we take out all the variables, make sure we turn up, we are right at it and make sure we play to the best of our ability. If we do that, it takes a good side to beat us and if Gateshead do that and they are better than us on the day, we'll hold our hands up."

On new Gateshead boss Steve Watson, the former Newcastle and Everton player: "He's got great pedigree as a player. He's a legend up there. I remember watching him. I never played against him. I never played at that level myself, so if his team are a reflection of him they are going to be a real tricky tie."

On team selection with the Checkatrade Trophy tie v West Ham U21s following on Tuesday: "We'll go as strong as we possibly can in both games. We have a fantastic squad here that we

keep waxing about, saying it's a good squad, so they are going to be tested over these next three games in six days. But that's why we asked the board and the club to back us in that kind of way. It's for moments like these. That's why I say to the players, 'We are competing on three fronts so you need to be right at it'. And now we'll see because our squad will be tested this week. Hopefully we can come through it."

WHO?

Managed by former Newcastle United and Everton midfielder Steve Watson, the Tynesiders find themselves in 15th after 22 games in the Vanarama National League. A mixed bag of results under the 43-year-old, convincing wins against Leyton Orient and Maidenhead have come in amongst narrow defeats to Eastleigh and Barrow.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 2pm on Sunday 3rd December at the Gateshead International Stadium.

TICKET INFORMATION

It's all pay on the day for the second round tie at the International Stadium, with prices: Adults – £15, Concessions (60+ years) – £8, Students & 16-17-yo – £5, U16s – £3.

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

All but one of the Hatters' 11 matches against the Tynesiders have come in the Conference, with the Town only losing twice in those outings. The last of those meetings came in December 2013 when Alex Lawless netted twice in a 4-2 win at Kenilworth Road. In total, Town have won five, drawn four and lost twice against Gateshead.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

You can follow the Hatters' Twitter feed on @LutonTown, or stay up to date on the LTFC website in the match centre. iFollow Hatters subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts' match commentary, but international subscribers cannot watch the game live on this occasion as it is a cup match that doesn't come under iFollow Hatters terms.


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