The Hatters face one of their biggest tests this season as they take on promotion rivals Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow at Adams Park.
Chairboys boss Gareth Ainsworth has seen his side suffer only one defeat in all competitions since the beginning of November, a run of form that has catapulted Wycombe into the play-off places in the Sky Bet League Two and one place above the Hatters in sixth.
Victories over Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy and Stourbridge in the Emirates FA Cup has seen Wanderers progress to the quarter-finals and the fourth round of those competitions.
Forward Scott Kashket has found the net 13 times this season and won League Two’s December Player of the Month, with summer signing Adebayo Akinfenwa chipping in with eight goals as well.
Asked about the threat that those two pose yesterday in his press conference, Hatters manager Nathan Jones said he is aware of what tomorrow’s opponents possess, but he thinks Wycombe will have their work cut out trying to deal with the Town’s front two as well.
He said: “I think you’ve just got to make sure you’re aware of the threat. We have got Danny Hylton and Jack Marriott, we have got players who are in wonderful form themselves, so let Wycombe worry about them.
“But we are aware of any threat they have, Scott Kashket is in fine form in terms of his shots per goal. Akinfenwa is a real threat for anyone. They have other threats as well, you can’t concentrate too much otherwise you’re not aware of anything else.
“We have got to be ourselves and if we are ourselves and we are right at it, then I am confident that they’ll be happy at the final whistle.”
Part of Ainsworth’s men’s success this season has been their impressive set-pieces, with full back Joe Jacobson so far credited with six assists this season.
His fellow defenders also currently hold the accolade for maintaining the tightest home defence in League Two, having only conceded nine times at Adams Park.
The Hatters can equal that stat though with their away record, as they have only let in the same amount of goals on the road, a record only bettered by Plymouth Argyle (eight).
It’s that solidity that has helped Town retain their title of meanest back line in the league, conceding at least two goals less than every other team.
The last time the Town and the Chairboys played each other, Jones’ side were in rampant form, putting four past Wycombe keeper Jamal Blackman on a rainy September afternoon at Kenilworth Road, with Matt Bloomfield replying for the visitors.
A real standout affair between the two for Jones though was one of his first games in charge of the Town last February, when the Hatters beat Wycombe at Adams Park with a Cameron McGeehan effort.
One of the big plus points from that day was the travelling support, and this weekend the away allocation of 1,800 has completely sold out.
“I remember last year it was one of my first games away,” Jones said. “It was a good day, I remember the game vividly. The fans were outstanding. You expect them to be there in their droves because it’s like breathing! They turn up, they get behind their team and they are brilliant.
“I am delighted they are our fans. They have been brilliant and I am hoping we can put a performance together for them to be proud of once again.”
Saturday’s match will be refereed by Ben Toner, who last took charge of a Town match when Jones’ side won 2-0 at Morecambe in November. The Lancashire-based ref has handed out 80 yellow cards and three red cards in 25 matches so far this season.
As the match is all-ticket to Hatters fans and our allocation has sold out, any supporters without a ticket are advised not to travel. Any away fans supporting the Hatters within the home areas of the ground are liable to be ejected and police action could follow.
For those without a ticket, the live Wall
will be available on the LTFC website with all the updates from the match at Adams Park if you aren’t able to make it to the Town’s game, or if you’re a Hatters Player subscriber, listen in for Simon Pitts’ full match commentary from just before 3pm.
* For those who are not travelling to Wycombe on Saturday but don’t want to miss out on some live football action, our friends at Hitchin Town – who have hosted development squad matches for us this season – have made their Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division match against Cirencester Town a ‘pay what you want’ game.
Kick-off at Top Field is 3pm and the Canaries will also be collecting for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, with all donations welcome.