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3 March 2017

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Town could move to within a point of third place

The Hatters take on Yeovil tomorrow as Nathan Jones’ team will be looking to bounce back from their midweek disappointment of exiting the Checkatrade Trophy at the hands of Sky Bet League One club Oxford United.

After coming back from two goals down late on in the semi-final at Kenilworth Road, Marvin Johnson curled in from 20 yards to see off the Town with five minutes of normal time remaining.

In his post-match interview, Nathan Jones made a rallying call for his players to keep their heads up and supporters to get behind the club, as he wants his side to now focus on one target - promotion to Oxford's level.

He said: “It was a good night on Tuesday with league results elsewhere, but now we can’t be a hard luck story. We can’t be naïve. Now we go after something. 

“We have to have a clinical edge to us, have a killer instinct, any side that comes here or any side we go to, we have to put to the sword, because that’s our one goal for this season.”

Wednesday’s game also saw Danny Hylton score his 20th goal of the season, bettering his best season return by four goals, but his boss expects to see the striker add more.

“I am delighted for Danny to get 20, that is a big milestone for any striker and we still have 13 games to go," said Jones.

“It’s going to be a real good end to the season, now we have one thing to concentrate on and we have to go after that.”

The reverse fixture of tomorrow’s match ended in a 1-1 draw back in August, when Stephen O’Donnell scored what was this week voted the best Town goal of 2016 - and put forward for the Mitre Goal of the Year award in the EFL Awards.

That game came on the back of a big win for Jones’ team, as they defeated Championship outfit Aston Villa, courtesy of strikes from Jake Gray, Cameron McGeehan and an own goal from Jores Okore.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity at the weekend,” Jones continued. “We had an emotional cup tie against Aston Villa and then we played Yeovil – that was a Wednesday and we played Yeovil three days later really and we lacked a bit of energy.

“We can’t afford to do that. We have got a free week next week, so we will rest them up, but they have got to be ready to go on Saturday because it’s a big, big game.”

Darren Way’s side – currently 17th in Sky Bet League Two with 40 points – have drawn five of their last six league games, with their last win coming at the end of January against promotion chasers Plymouth Argyle.

The last time Yeovil and the Hatters met, in early February, Jones' side ran out 5-2 winners in the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final at Kenilworth Road.

That result is part of a run that has seen the Hatters beaten just twice in 12 matches, helping them not only reach the last four of the Trophy, but also keep pace with some of the high flyers in the division.

A win could lift the Town to within just a point of third place, depending on how Carlisle United and Portsmouth get on.

The Cumbrians – currently third with 58 points – take on second placed Plymouth Argyle, whilst Pompey – who sit fourth with 56 points – host Crewe Alexandra.

Tomorrow’s match at Huish Park will be refereed by Kevin Johnson, who has taken charge of 25 games this season, handing out 80 yellow cards and two red cards.

Hatters Player subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts’ full match commentary of the game, with the live Wall also in action for all the match updates.

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