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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | SOUTHEND UNITED V LUTON TOWN

25 January 2019

The Hatters will look to move to the top of the Sky Bet League One table for the first time this season tomorrow when they face Southend United at Roots Hall.

Avoiding defeat would not only mean the Town would be in their best vein of form for 50 years in the EFL, it would also see them snatch top spot off Portsmouth, who are in Emirates FA Cup action this weekend.

The Hatters are currently equalling a run they haven't matched in league football since 1982, when they went 15 league games unbeaten. A point or more for the Town tomorrow would mean the run would only have been bettered on three occasions in the club's history – two 19 game unbeaten runs in 1968 and 1969/70 and a 23-game run in 1913/14 (this only includes Football League matches!)

Southend find themselves on a remarkable run of their own, although maybe not one that you'd necessarily want. Since the 24th November, Chris Powell's side have consistently won a match and then lost the following one over the past ten games in League One.

Last weekend though they very much found their stride in an emphatic 4-0 win over Bradford, in which they netted a few seriously classy goals.

MICK HARFORD SAYS:

On the potential to move top of the table: "There's a massive incentive at the weekend. Obviously we do have to think about Tuesday as well, i.e. who we play, who can do the two games in three, four days. So if we win on Saturday, we go top of the league, and there's no bigger incentive than that, and the players are aware of that.

"They'll be well prepared, they're looking forward to a massive challenge on Saturday against what I believe is a really good Southend team, who on their day can beat anyone. Chris Powell, he knows the league, he's well organised, his teams are very thorough and organised, they're very attack-minded and also tough to break down.

"So there's big challenges ahead over the next few days, but challenges we all want and we're going to cherish and nurture them. I'm going to embrace the challenge and hopefully we can win all six points."

On whether or not to play up the importance of the upcoming games: "I think we've got to play it up. It's a massive challenge, that's where we want to be and I keep saying if we want to win the league, we've got to beat these teams and they're good teams, good squads.

"They know what's ahead of them and me repeating that, I'm sure doesn't have any impact on how they're going to play or what their performances are going to be like. I think it's something they should cherish and embrace and be proud of where they are in the league."

On Southend's current run: "It's ten games they have gone now win-lose. You've got to respect Southend, we played them earlier on in the season and I went to watch them the game before and at the time I thought they were the best team I had seen in the league. They played a four-four-two shape and they were really at it. Chris had them at full pelt.

"We know what to expect down there, it's a difficult little ground, sometimes it's a little bit like Kenilworth Road, the atmosphere is quite intimidating and it's going to be a tough day for us. We will be ready and prepared for them."

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

WHO?

Chris Powell is well known in football for being one of the good guys, but he also knows how to get out of the third tier, having guided Charlton to the Championship. Whilst maintaining a fair amount of the core of the squad he inherited when he took over from Phil Brown a year ago, he has also added a few new faces. Arguably one of the best stoppers at this level in Mark Oxley with Michael Turner and Jason Demetriou in front of him forms a solid defence, whilst Michael Kightly and Sam Mantom play as part of a decent midfield – with the addition of Luke Hyam bringing real quality. Injuries though have really hindered the Shrimpers in recent months though, with long term injuries keeping key members of Powell's squad out.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Roots Hall on Saturday 26th January.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tomorrow's game will be refereed by Thomas Bramall, who has overseen 31 games so far this season, dishing out 66 yellow cards and three red cards. He last refereed a Town game in our 1-0 win at Bury in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for tomorrow's game at Roots Hall are on sale until 2pm today – there will be none available on the day!

PLAYED BEFORE?

We've already met twice this season – both those games were played at Kenilworth Road, with Town winning the league fixture, before losing the Checkatrade Trophy match back in December. In total we have defeated them 39 times, drawn 19, and lost 30.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from Roots Hall 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 EFL Digital team assure us they are working on a fix to get club updates onto the app)

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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