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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: LUTON TOWN V BLACKPOOL

31 March 2017

Town could move back into fourth with a win tomorrow

The Hatters take on one of the country’s most in-form teams tomorrow afternoon as Sky Bet League Two promotion rivals Blackpool make the trip south to Kenilworth Road.
 
Whilst the Hatters haven’t won a game in five, they still boast one the tightest defences in the division, having conceded only 37 goals in 39 games. 
 
That record is only outdone by second placed Plymouth Argyle who have let in two fewer goals.
 
Blackpool's form is at the opposite end of the scale having picked up the joint most amount of points in their last six games in the top four tiers of English football – 16, the same as League One side Bolton Wanderers.
 
Nathan Jones isn’t fazed by his side’s dip in form though and thinks once the run comes to an end, his team will be better for it.
 
He said: “I eat it, sleep it, drink it, the lot! It’s why I do it, it’s part and parcel of it. I love my job. I love the challenge of doing it. That’s why you want to be a manager, that’s why you don’t remain an assistant manager or a coach all your life because you want this pressure and it’s good and it’s brilliant.
 
“At a club like ours we have that. I am well equipped to handle that and we are going to come through it.
 
“When we do come through it, we will be a stronger squad and stronger group for it.”
 
Currently unbeaten in nine with five wins in their last six games, the Pools seem to have hit form at the perfect time of the season. Their win against Hartlepool last Saturday saw them jump into the play-off places onto 60 points alongside the Town, but with a superior goal difference leaving Gary Bowyer’s team in fifth.
 
Former Hatter Mark Cullen has scored seven times this season for the Tangerines, with four of those goals coming in Blackpool’s last six games.
 
The 24-year-old was part of the Town team promoted from the Conference in 2014, scoring 24 goals in 83 appearances in total for the Hatters before leaving for Bloomfield Road in the summer of 2015.
 
He isn’t the only forward the Town need to be wary of though, with Kyle Vassell coming off the bench to score the winner against the Monkey Hangers – his 13th goal of the season.
 
In midfield they have one of League Two’s top performers in Brad Potts, who has one goal less than Vassell, but with nine assists to his name he is certainly one of the upcoming talents in the division aged just 22-year-old.
 
In his press conference yesterday, the Town boss was pressed on whether he felt Blackpool had sprung out of nowhere, but he thinks they have been contenders for a top spot in the league all along.
 
He said: “I don’t know if they have come out of nowhere, they have got one of the best squads in the league, they really have got a good side.
 
“If they don’t finish in the play-offs then I think they’d be slightly underachieving. I don’t mean that disrespectfully – they have got a real good side. Their front five or six are as good as anyone in the league and they have had that regularly.
 
“They were flying right up until we played them in December – then they stuttered – and now they have come again. But the players they have got, they have got some wonderful players for this level. They are a very strong squad. If you know the league then you think ‘Hang on, these are a difficult side to beat’.”
 
A win for the Hatters tomorrow would lift them above the Seasiders and potentially into fourth spot, depending on how Stevenage get on at the Hive against Barnet.
 
Saturday’s game at Kenilworth Road will be overseen by Lancashire based referee Chris Kavanagh. In the 33 matches he has taken control of this season, he has handed out 109 yellow cards and two red cards.
 
The live Wall will be in action for supporters who can’t make the match, whilst Hatters Player subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts’ full match commentary from just before 3pm.
 
Tomorrow’s game will see the Hatters promote the Players’ Charity of the Year, Brain Tumour Research, with the charity having bucket collections around the ground, as well as the players wearing special T-shirts in the warm-up. 

Supporters – who are encouraged to wear a hat on the day in support of the charity – can also donate by texting HAT to 70660 to give £5 or visit http://just.ly/wearahatday2017 if they wish to donate more.
 
Season Ticket holders in the Oak Road can purchase additional tickets at just £5, for more information on the offer, please click here.


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