The Hatters could move to within three points of third place
The Hatters face Cambridge United this weekend in what could prove another huge step in Nathan Jones’ team’s search for an automatic promotion spot.
They face a U’s side who are in a strong position of their own, sitting only a point outside the play-off places after a rich vein of form took them from their early season slumber when they were sat bottom of the table, to within touching distance of the top seven in the division.
Town could move to within just three points of Carlisle United who occupy third spot, currently six points better off than the Hatters, but the Cumbrians have played a game more.
After a tough period results wise for Town over Christmas and New Year, they have recovered in their last three matches. They breezed past Chesterfield in the Checkatrade Trophy with a 4-0 victory, before snatching all three points at Crewe with ten men and then going on to draw away at Wycombe against promotion rivals who are in superb form.
Saturday’s match will once again be an incredibly important one for the Hatters in their attempts to break into the top three.
Jones said of Saturday’s visitors to Kenilworth Road: “They have a decent squad. They didn’t have the best of starts which was a surprise to me, but they have got a good manager, they have got a good, strong squad there.
“They’re a difficult side to play against and we know the test we are going to get.
“I think they’ll be Cambridge. I think they will be themselves. They’re a forward thinking hard working, pressing side. It should be a good energetic game.”
The Welshman’s first game in charge of the Town was a 0-0 draw against the U’s, a day fondly remembered by the former Brighton and Yeovil Town defender.
“It was my first game and there was a big crowd,” Jones continued. “We got a point out of it which got me off the mark straight away. I am hoping for a different outcome though, and we are a different side to what we were. I’d had about eight days’ work with them.
“It was a whirlwind on the day, but I remember it vividly. I know it’ll be a different game in terms of how I handle it.”
Cambridge’s resurgence this season has in part been thanks to the form of midfielder Luke Berry and summer signing Uche Ikpeazu, who has led the line for Shaun Derry’s side, netting seven times.
Berry has continued his goal scoring exploits from previous seasons, having netted 15 goals from midfield this term.
Asked about the potency of the two in his press conference yesterday, Jones felt that every team in the division has their own strengths and he’s sure that Cambridge are aware of what the Hatters possess as well.
“Every side has got a threat and a good player, I am sure when they look at us they say the same thing,” said Jones.
“We know they have got players that can hurt you, like any other side, we have got to make sure that we impose ourselves on the game and stop their threat.
“We have been in good form with that, we handled that kind of threat at Wycombe, so we are equipped to do it and we will be looking forward to the game.”
The last time the two sides played each other was back in August, as the Hatters ran out 3-0 winners at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
The sides have met a total of 37 times, with the Town victorious in 13 of those matches, Cambridge have won nine and the pair have contested 15 draws.
Seb Stockbridge will be refereeing tomorrow’s match, who has handed out 105 yellow cards and four red cards in the 25 matches he has taken charge of this season.
The LTFC Live Wall
will be up and running for the match for those who are unable to attend, whilst Simon Pitts’ full match commentary will be available as always for Hatters Player subscribers.