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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | FLEETWOOD TOWN v LUTON TOWN

The Hatters head to Highbury looking to set new club record

15 February 2019

The Hatters head to Fleetwood Town tomorrow with the opportunity to set a new club record of 20 EFL matches unbeaten if they win or draw at Highbury Stadium.

In the week that Mick Harford's spell as interim manager was extended to the end of the season the Town players have the opportunity to write their names further into the club annals after equalling the 19-game record set twice in successive years in 1968 and 1969.

Chief recruitment officer Harford, whose extended appointment was announced on his 60th birthday on Tuesday, has overseen five successive league victories since picking up a more-than-useful point at promotion rivals Sunderland in his first game in charge on January 12th.

Since that 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, the Town have beaten Peterborough, Southend, Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and Wycombe to open up a six-point gap over second-placed Barnsley, and a nine-point cushion over the play-off places at the top of Sky Bet League One.

With Harry Cornick, Elliot Lee and Kazenga LuaLua all having returned to training this week following injury lay-offs, the Town are almost at full strength heading up to the Fylde Coast, with Glen Rea the only absentee following the knee surgery that ended his season just before Christmas.

Joey Barton's Fleetwood are ninth in the table, eight points off the final play-off spot, but are in decent nick having just recorded back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season with solitary goal successes over Charlton and Bradford.

Their top scorer is Paddy Madden, who has 17 goals for the season - two less than Hatters leading marksman James Collins.

 

MICK HARFORD SAYS:

On the pressure of being top: "There is pressure, especially when you are top of the league. But we are six points clear, we are in good form and I believe the pressure is on everybody else. They are the ones who are playing catch-up. But yes, there is a pressure on to win games, and there's a tough game at the weekend as we well know. I think there is pressure from everywhere and I'd rather have this pressure than when I was here ten years ago as the manager. It's a good pressure and I'll try to transfer that to the players, that you are there to be shot at. You are, at the moment, the best team in the league so let's enjoy it, let's embrace how far you've come and how far we've got this season."

On Fleetwood: "They are in good form. I think it's the second time this season they've had back-to-back wins, they've only lost one in their last six games. It's a tough place to go. Joey gets them playing, absolutely. He gets them playing in a certain way. They've got a structure now that I think the players have bought into and hsi team is playing well, so it will be difficult for us. They are a lively front three and a well-balanced team."

On whether he knows Joey Barton: "Not really. I have spoken to him in the past. I wouldn't say we are personal friends, but I've got a lot of respect for him, he's had a great career and he's doing well in management in his first job. His team, if it matches the way Joey was, will be aggressive, they'll try and play football a certain way. We will make our players aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be ready for the challenge."

YOU CAN WATCH MICK'S PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE ON IFOLLOW BY CLICKING HERE.

WHO?

It’s difficult to talk about the Cod Army without mentioning their ridiculous climb up the leagues. A North West Counties League Division One side in 2004, they won six promotions in ten years to climb all the way up to League One, where they have resided since 2014. The club has folded and begun again twice since its inception in 1908, spending a majority of their existence in the lower reaches of Non-League, mainly the Lancashire Combination League.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Highbury Stadium on Saturday 16th February.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Select Group 2/Championship official Peter Bankes will take charge of tomorrow's game. He has overseen 28 games this season, dishing out 124 yellow cards and four red cards. The last time he took control of a Hatters match was when we travelled to Blackpool in December 2016.

TICKET INFORMATION

The match is 'all-ticket' for Hatters fans and tickets went off sale at 2pm on Friday, with just a handful unsold. Supporters are advised that tickets on the day will only be available to members of Fleetwood Town FC, so please do not travel on the day without a ticket.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Of our five meetings in total, Town have won on three occasions – including our 2-0 victory earlier on this campaign when a Harry Cornick strike and a Craig Morgan own goal secured the three points for the Hatters – with Fleetwood winning the other two. The Hatters have been successful on our previous two visits to Highbury, with a 3-0 win in 2010 before a 2-0 victory secured a Conference play-off place under Paul Buckle on the final day of the 2011-12 season - a match which saw Jamie Vardy and Andre Gray come up against each other!

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from the Fylde Coast will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website, which you can access by clicking here. (*Please note that the club's Live Text will appear only by accessing through an internet browser, users of the Luton Town FC app will receive updates from Opta)

The main moments from the game will appear on the Hatters' social media feeds:

Twitter – @LutonTown
Facebook – www.facebook.com/LutonTown/
Instagram – www.instagram.com/ltfc_official/

And of course Simon Pitts will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

If you're an international subscriber, make sure you purchase a match pass so you can watch the game live!


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