It’s FA Cup weekend so anything can, and probably will, happen. The Cobblers could have done without a game away from home at a strong Conference side but that’s what we were handed so we’re all set for a derby day at Luton. We haven’t paid a visit to Kenilworth Road for over four years so it should be a highly anticipated game for both sides.
Luton reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup by hammering Hendon 5-1 two weeks ago but were beaten 2-1 at home by fellow high flyers Fleetwood Town in the league last weekend.
The Cobblers were cruelly beaten 4-3 at Gillingham last weekend having fought back from 3-1 down at half-time to almost snatch an unlikely draw. But a stoppage time penalty from Danny Kedwell sent us home pointless despite a much improved performance.
Luton snapped up highly rated Darlington left-back Greg Taylor, who was with the Cobblers as a youngster, this week but he is cup tied having already played for the Quakers in the competition this season. Also missing will be the suspended Stuart Fleetwood and the injured James Dance. Dan Gleeson returned from his spell on the sidelines with an appearance in the reserves on Tuesday but he won’t be considered for Saturday. Meanwhile, Hatters boss Gary Brabin is also without Tommy Wright who twisted an ankle in that reserve team outing.
Derek Niven’s injury sustained at Gillingham was fortunately not ankle ligament damage as first feared but he still could be missing for the trip to Kenilworth Road with his shin being the problem discovered this week. Gary Johnson will wait on the injury before asking parent club Chesterfield to give Niven the all clear to play in the cup. Saido Berahino has been given that permission from West Bromwich Albion though which is a massive boost for the game. Johnson is still without Byron Webster and Arron Davies plus long term injury victim Nana.
Fred Murray is among a clutch of former Cobblers now at Luton. Murray was majorly hit by injury during his final two years at Sixfields and after 38 appearances the popular left back departed in May 2007. Since then, Murray has played for Stafford, Stevenage, Exeter and Grays before moving to Luton in 2010. Injury has again hit Murray this season though and he’s almost certainly going to miss the entire season following surgery on his knee problem.
Dean Beckwith made the move to Kenilworth Road in the summer having made 75 appearances for the Cobblers with 3 goals to his name. Beckwith has played 8 times for his new club and netted on his debut in a 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers.
Hatters striker Danny Crow spent ten games on loan with the Cobblers back in 2005, scoring twice in ten games before signing for arch rivals Peterborough United. After loan spells at Notts County, Crow moved to Cambridge United before Luton snapped him up on a free transfer at the end of his contract in May 2010.
Jamie Hand is another ex-Cobbler on Luton’s books having played eleven times for us on loan from Fisher Athletic in 2006 and helping us to promotion before joining Chester City that summer.
Last Six Meetings…
05/04/08: Cobblers 2-1 Luton
The last time the teams met was when we were both in League One with the Cobblers winning by the odd goal at Sixfields. Poul Hubertz puts Town in front from the penalty spot before Alex Dyer doubles the lead before half time. Former Cobbler Sam Parkin nets in stoppage time but it was too little too late.
15/10/07: Luton 4-1 Cobblers
In a live Sky game, Darren Currie’s spectacular opener is matched by Bradley Johnson’s rocket to make it 1-1. But two Matthew Spring penalties either side of a Paul Furlong strike hands the Cobblers a pretty harsh defeat in front of the nation.
04/09/07: Luton 2-0 Cobblers (JPT First Round)
The Cobblers are dumped out in the opening round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Kenilworth Road thanks to goals from veterans Don Hutchison and Paul Peschisolido.
15/02/03: Luton 3-2 Cobblers
Darryl Burgess puts the Cobblers in front but Paul Hughes levels the game just a couple of minutes later. Kevin Nicholls puts the home side into the lead just before the hour and the tide turns again when Town win a penalty with twenty minutes to go. Richard Johnson slots home the kick and it looks like we were escaping with a point until Hughes gets the decisive goal five minutes from time.
02/11/02: Cobblers 3-0 Luton
A comfortable victory for the Cobblers at Sixfields as Jamie Forrester bags a brace in the opening twenty minutes. Marco Gabbiadini seals the win five minutes after half time with the third.
10/02/01: Cobblers 0-1 Luton
A tight contest is settled by an early goal from Stuart Douglas at Sixfields.
The Man In The Middle…
It could actually be a good omen for once that Andy D’Urso referees a Cobblers match. The controversial official was in charge the last time we picked up a victory back on October 1st at Barnet.
Apparently Luton are favourites to progress with the bookies having made a good start to the season in the Conference coupled with the Cobblers’ poor run. But after some encouraging signs at Gillingham I think we could nick this one in another high scoring contest. I’ll go for 3-2 to the Cobblers.