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Match Previews


31 January 2017

Match Previews


31 January 2017

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The Hatters take on Cheltenham tonight at Kenilworth Road

The Hatters could make it five matches without defeat and move to within a point of third placed Carlisle United with a win over Cheltenham Town at Kenilworth Road tonight.

Town boss Nathan Jones has seen his side bounce back from their FA Cup knock-out by Accrington Stanley in early January, going on a four-match unbeaten streak with victories over Chesterfield, Crewe and Cambridge, as well as a draw away at Wycombe Wanderers.

This month has also seen a glut of players contributing goals for Jones’ team, as regular scorers Danny Hylton and Cameron McGeehan are suspended and injured.

Scott Cuthbert scored his first goal in a Town shirt this month against the Chairboys, whilst Jordan Cook, Isaac Vassell, Jake Gray and Jack Marriott have all found the back of the net in January.

Cheltenham have their own major goal scoring threat, with midfielder Billy Waters finding the net 11 times so far this term, including a goal in the Robins’ fine 3-0 victory over Stanley earlier on in the month.

Gary Johnson’s team also reached the quarter-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 6-1 win over Leicester City, before being knocked out by Bradford City.

In his press conference yesterday, Jones said his side will be ready for however the Robins want to go about their work.

“We obviously have an idea of the sort of system they will play because we do our due-diligence,” said Jones. “In terms of what game plan they’re going to come here with, I have no idea.

“We worry about what Luton Town can do and if they come and do one thing, hopefully we have enough to combat that. If they want to do something else, then we have threats that can hopefully hurt them in that way.

“I think we saw contrasting performances in both halves on Saturday, where Cambridge sat back and were organised and pressed, and we managed to get on top of that and score. Then they came out a little bit and matched us up, went for it and we were devastating on the counter-attack.”

Tonight’s opponents have made a number of signings so far this transfer window, bringing in Carl Winchester, Alex Pike, Scott Brown, Will Boyle, Diego De Girolamo and Emmanuel Onariase as they look to pull away from the bottom two in the division.

Only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, a win for the Robins could put them into 20th place and three points clear of 23rd placed Leyton Orient.

Town will be without the suspended duo of Johnny Mullins and Hylton, the former will miss out for another two league matches after tonight, whilst the latter of which is serving the final game of his two-match ban.

In Mullins’ place on Saturday against United was summer signing Glen Rea, who has impressed since his arrival, making 26 appearances for the Hatters so far this season, scoring twice.

Jones was full of praise for the defender who can also operate as a holding midfielder, having worked with the 22-year-old at Brighton and Hove Albion.

He said: “Glen Rea is an outstanding young player, we love him. I love him.

“When I was at Brighton and he was probably just on the periphery of being good enough to get into Brighton’s first team, because they had wonderful players there, I knew at any opportunity I got in management I would take him with me, because he is a wonderful player.

“He’s versatile, he’s committed, he defends well and he’s been outstanding for us, absolutely outstanding.”

The Hatters and the Robins have contested ten matches between them, with tonight’s hosts winning five, drawing three and losing twice.

The referee for the fixture is John Busby, who has refereed Town’s 2-1 away win over Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy and the 3-1 victory against Exeter City at St James Park in the FA Cup this term. So far this season he has handed out 92 yellow cards and two red cards in 23 games. 

The match updates will be available on the LTFC website via the live Wall, and Hatters Player subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts’ full match commentary.

Tonight will also be the last opportunity for fans to make the most of the 3-for-2 deal the ticket office have on for the games against the Robins, Crawley Town and Hartlepool United.

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