Match Preview: Luton Town (A)
EFL League Two
Saturday, December 31, 2016 – KO 3pm
Team News: Harry Taylor and Jamal Campbell-Ryce were back in the first-team squad for Monday’s 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town.
Michael Gash (knee), Shaun Batt (hamstring) and Ben Tomlinson (quad) have been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Last Time We Met: A last-gasp John Akinde penalty gave Barnet a memorable 2-1 win over the Hatters at The Hive on Easter Monday – the Bees’ first league win over Luton.
Akinde’s penalty marked a dramatic finish as Luton has only levelled five minutes earlier with a goal from Cameron McGeehan.
After an uneventful first half Luke Gambin put the Bees ahead by cutting in from the right and firing low into the far corner.
Five minutes from the end Luton levelled, McGeehan stabbing home after Jamie Stephens had saved Scott Cuthbert’s header.
But in the 90th minute Cuthbert gave away a penalty for handball and there no denying Akinde from 12 yards.
Manager: Nathan Jones, 43, was appointed as Hatters boss in January 2016 but could not take his new side into the League Two play-off places with defeat at The Hive as good as ending the Hatters’ play-off hopes.
Born in Rhondda, Wales, Luton were Jones’ first professional club after joining from Merthyr Tydfil for £10,000 in the summer of 1995.
Jones’ next step was to move abroad and he spent time with Spanish sides Numancia and Badajoz before returning to England with Southend United in 1997.
The final 12 years of the defender’s playing career were split between Brighton and Yeovil and, upon retirement in 2012, Jones became assistant at Huish Park.
He has signed worked as Charlton Athletic’s Under-21 coach and held a number of roles at Brighton.
Dangerman: Striker Danny Hylton, 27, has proven to be one of the signings of the summer and has 11 goals in 19 league starts since trading Oxford United for Luton Town over the summer.
The experienced striker, who is four goals shy of the 100th of his career, left the newly-promoted U’s to return to League Two and join the ambitious Hatters.
And the decision has been vindicated for both sides with Hylton rattling in six in his last eight in all competitions.
Having helped Oxford into League One last term with a return of 14 goals you would not bet against the former Rotherham United and Aldershot Town man making it two promotions in as many seasons.
Connections: Midfielder Olly Lee is currently on the books at Kenilworth Road after joining the Hatters on a permanent basis this summer.
The 25-year-old made 13 appearances for the Bees during the 2012/13 campaign before joining Birmingham City. He moved to Luton on loan last summer before making the switch permanent.
Winger Darren Currie, 42, made more than 100 appearances in black and amber between 1998 and 2001 before moving to Wycombe Wanderers in a £200,000 deal.
He spent the 2007/08 season with Luton, turning out 38 times in all competitions for the Hatters before ending his career at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Further back, Liam Hatch scored 25 times in 99 league starts as a Bee before joining Peterborough United for £150,000 in January 2008. He spent the 2009/10 season on loan at Luton, scoring four times in ten league starts.
Also: Dean Brill, Paul Furlong, Kevin Gallen, Brian Stein, David Livermore, Steve Kabba, Lloyd Owusu, Tresor Kandol, Rossi Jarvis, Craig McAllister, Ben Wright, Neil Midgley.
Last Time Out: Luton went down 1-0 at home to Colchester United on Boxing Day with a late goal from Craig Slater doing the damage for Town.
Slater settled a match which looked destined to end in a draw six minutes from time, firing past Christian Walton from the edge of the penalty area to
Luton Town (3-5-3): Walton; Rea, Cuthbert (c), Mullins; O’Donnell, Justin, Lee, McGeehan, Gilliead; Hylton, Marriott.
Ticket info: Tickets must be purchased in advance by visiting The Hive London or ringing 0208 381 2800 (1027). For more information click here.