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Match Previews


14 February 2017

Match Previews


14 February 2017

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The Hatters could go third in League Two with a win tonight

Tonight the Hatters take on Hartlepool United at Kenilworth Road as Nathan Jones’ side will once again look to close in on the automatic promotion places.

Doncaster Rovers play away at Carlisle United in one of tonight’s Valentine’s fixtures, which means if the Cumbrians lose and the Hatters win, Town’s superior goal difference will lift them into third.

It would be the first time Jones’ side have occupied one of the automatic promotion places since the 1-1 draw at Hartlepool on 27th September took them second, with the boss focusing on improving his team’s home form as the Town look to make it three consecutive wins in all competitions.

“It’s important not to waste the chance to go back-to-back home wins because that’s what we want,” said the gaffer. “It will be three including the Checaktrade Trophy, so we are in decent form. Away at Grimsby, apart from a penalty miss, we should have won the game. Against Yeovil we were magnificent.

“Saturday we had to win a different way, but we did. We have got to concentrate on our performance and make sure at half-ten tonight we have got 52 points.”

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu has already made more appearances this season than he has managed in any other term in a Town shirt – 33 in all competitions –  with tonight’s match potentially marking his 100th for the Hatters since his arrival from Premier League outfit West Ham in 2013.

His manager has been delighted with the way he has gone about his business recently, as he could make eighth consecutive start this evening.

Jones said: “I’ve been impressed with his application. He’s gone up a level with his application and his concentration levels and his general demeanour really, as he’s great to have around.

“He’s a funny kid and he’s always involved in stuff, but sometimes that boiled over into his performances.

“But now he’s really, really focused and knuckled down and we’re really, really pleased that he’s done that. I think he’s seen the benefits from it and the team definitely has.”

The Town take on a Monkey Hangers side who have struggled for form under new boss Dave Jones, winning just once in the five games since the former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday manager took charge.

The Hatters gaffer said he doesn’t take much notice of the form tables, as it doesn’t seem to make much difference when sides visit Kenilworth Road.

He said: “I have come up against Dave, he is a very experienced manager. I came up against him when he was at Cardiff and the teams he had at Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday and so on.

“He is very, very experienced. He is used to big clubs and he will bring a real level of experience and knowledge about him.

“We are always wary of form because in this league it goes out the window, especially when they come to Luton. All we have got to focus on is doing our job and backing up what we did on the weekend.”

The last time Town played the Pools, Alan Sheehan’s fantastic free-kick brought the score level late on in the second half after Nathan Thomas had given the hosts the lead on the stroke of half-time. 

The sides have met 22 times, Luton have won 13, Hartlepool seven and there have been two draws.

The game tonight will be refereed by John Brookes, who has dished out a total of 129 yellow cards and eight reds in 28 matches this season.

Hatters Player subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts’ full match commentary that begins just before kick-off, whilst the LTFC live Wall will be in action from 6pm. 

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