The Hatters look to bounce back from last week’s 2-0 defeat at Chesterfield by making it six home games unbeaten when they entertain Morecambe at Kenilworth Road on Saturday afternoon.
Nathan Jones’ side go into the game against the Shrimps sitting three points clear of Notts County at the top of Sky Bet League Two, and eight points in front of Wycombe Wanderers in the top play-off spot.
The Town have suffered back-to-back away defeats in the league at Port Vale and the Proact Stadium, but home form has been impressive this season with the come-from-behind 4-2 win over Lincoln on New Year’s Day making it ten wins, one draw and just two defeats, both when reduced to ten men, seeing 41 goals fly into the opposition’s net.
That figure, with ten home matches still to play, is three more than the Town registered at the Kenny in the whole of last season and Jones’ side are set to be boosted by the return of 17-goal top scorer Danny Hylton, who missed the Chesterfield reversal with a tight hamstring.
Managed for the past seven years by Jim Bentley, the third longest serving manager in the country behind Arsene Wenger and Paul Tisdale, Morecambe are currently 19th in the table and six points above the relegation zone.
They travel to Bedfordshire unbeaten in their last three matches, with wins over Yeovil and Grimsby followed by last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Stevenage.
On three of the next four games being at home…and the Kenny crowd: “We’ve given them plenty to get behind in terms of some of the performances – in fact, most of the performances – at home. Even the ones we lost, we went down to ten men in both of those, so it was slightly difficult, but we learnt from those and the fruits of that learning were shown in the Lincoln game. There is no magic wand. We are not going to win every home game. It’s difficult, but we’ve got good players so hopefully we’ll have enough to win this weekend and it sets us up then for finishing the month in good form. We’ve got some good games coming up against some good teams, so there’ll be opportunities to cement our position. We’re looking forward to this period.”
On 41 home goals beating last season’s tally already: “It’s a wonderful stat, but we’ve got ten games left now and we want to make sure that we add to that tally of home goals. We want to do that by starting at the weekend because it is a stat that we haven’t scored in a few games as well, so if we manage to make those inroads, that’ll be good.”
On Morecambe: “They are a really committed side and they’ve got some good players, to be fair to them. It will be a difficult game, but we’ll set up to try and win the game and try to be positive right from the off. That’s what we have to try and do. But we know it will be a difficult game because Morecambe are in decent form and they are a difficult side to beat. They have a different system and it will be a good game.”
On their evergreen striker, and eight-goal top scorer, Kevin Ellison: “He’s a test for anyone he plays against. It’s wonderful to see a guy that age – and I played until I was 39, so he’s not far off – be able to do that and go through the rigmaroles of League football. I don’t know him personally. Obviously, I see him and he’s a handful when he plays, but he must be a wonderful pro to play at that age, so credit to him.
Tomorrow’s visitors have been in the EFL for 11 seasons now after winning the first Conference play-off final to be held at Wembley, against Exeter City. Manager Jim Bentley was Shrimps skipper that day, the crowning moment of his nine years as a player with the Lancashire side before being appointed manager in 2011. They have never been higher than League Two, with fourth place in 2009-10 their best-ever finish before losing to Dagenham & Redbridge in the play-off semi-final. They will hope to better their 18th-place from last term, when ownership and financial uncertainty threatened the Globe Arena club’s existence.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Kick-off at Kenilworth Road on Saturday 20th January is at 3pm.
You can still pre-purchase tickets for the game from the LTFC ticket office in person, by calling 01582 416976 or online, but there will be cash turnstiles operating in all home areas of the ground for pay on the day supporters.
It is a category C match, so prices are:
- Adult: £18
- Young adult (age 19-21): £13
- Senior (age 65+): £13
- Golden senior (age 75+): £10
- Youth Under-19 (age 17-18): £10
- Youth Under-17 (age 10-16): £6
- Junior Under-10 (age 9 & under): £3
There have been nine meetings between the Hatters and Morecambe. Overall the Hatters have won five times, drawn twice and lost twice to the Shrimps. Last season Town took six points from a possible six against them, winning 2-0 away in November before a 3-1 victory here on the final day of the regular season (see video below). This campaign saw us trek up to the Globe Arena on a Tuesday evening at the end of September, with the game in which Harry Cornick made his first start for the club, and Aaron Jarvis his professional debut as a late substitute, ending in a goalless draw. The Hatters are unbeaten in their last five games against Morecambe.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
You can follow the Hatters' Twitter feed on @LutonTown, or stay up to date on the LTFC website in the match centre. iFollow Hatters subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts' match commentary, whilst international subscribers can watch the game live. You can subscribe to iFollow Hatters here...and supporters who are overseas can buy an individual match pass for the live video stream via the Match Centre.
AWAY SUPPORTERS' GUIDE
If you are a Morecambe supporter heading to Kenilworth Road for this fixture, please check out our Away Supporters' Guide by clicking here, to make sure you get the most out of your trip to Luton!
PERIOD OF APPLAUSE
Before the game, there will be a period of applause in tribute to Hatters legend John Faulkner, our former player and coach who passed away after a long illness at the end of last month. We will also remember John's fellow former Town players Rodney Fern and Ted Phillips, plus ex-England striker and friend of LTFC, Cyrille Regis, who have sadly died in recent days.
Don't forget to take advantage of the car parking now available at Power Court, make sure you get your permit now by clicking here.