HATTERS make only their second ever visit to Ebbsfleet this evening and if the result is anything like last time the two sides met at Stonebridge Road, it will make for a happy night for Town fans, writes Mike Simmonds.
Back on March 20, 2010 under Richard Money’s stewardship, Hatters romped to a mighty 6-1 triumph, courtesy of a second half hat-trick from French winger Claude Gnakpa.
Relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier two seasons ago, The Fleet were back at the first time of asking with a 4-2 Conference South play-off final victory over Farnborough last campaign.
Liam Daish’s side have struggled on their return though and currently sit fourth bottom in the table, losing their last two games without scoring a goal.
Home form has been a problem for the Kent side too as they have only won one match, although that did come recently when rock bottom Bath City were swept aside 3-0.
Daish moved to strengthen his side upfront during the close season, bringing in the experienced Callum Willock and former Forest Green forward Liam Enver-Marum, while former Stevenage and Histon goalkeeper Joe Day was also added.
Team news: Hatters will be without midfielder Keith Keane after he received his fifth booking of the season at Kidderminster on Saturday.
Ed Asafu-Adjaye is a doubt, but Alex Lawless is out, as are Charlie Henry, Dan Gleeson and Freddie Murray, while Jake Howells is still on international duty.
George Pilkington and Shane Blackett both played at Kidderminster on Saturday and boss Gary Brabin is hopeful of calling on the pair once more.
Ebbsfleet will be without winger Ricky Shakes after he was called up by Guyana for their two World Cup qualifiers against Barbados and Bermuda.
Liam Enver-Marum and Clint Easton are also expected to miss out too.
In charge: Liam Daish – Born in Portsmouth, the 43-year-old was released by Pompey before moving to Cambridge United where he helped the club to successive promotions from the Fourth to the Second Division.
Made his Republic of Ireland debut in his time at the Abbey, before Birmingham City snapped him up for £50,000. Became a rock at the back for the Blues, so much so that Coventry paid £1.5million for his services, but injury restricted him to just 34 appearances.
Dropped into non-league where he played over 150 times for Havant & Waterlooville and became joint manager.
Left for Welling and then Gravesend & Northfleet in February, 2005, which then became Ebbsfleet United and led the club to an FA Trophy final win in 2008.
From the dug out: Liam Daish - “Luton should be another challenge and I’m sure we’ll get some confidence back for that one.
“I want to think that it will be the game where we get our next three points.”
One to watch: Callum Willock – vastly experienced striker who started his career at Fulham and then had loan spells at QPR, Bristol Rovers and Peterborough before signing permanently for the Posh for £25,000.
Played for Brentford, Port Vale, Stevenage, Crawley and Cambridge until joining The Fleet in the summer and has notched six goals so far this season.
Top scorers: Ebbsfleet – Callum Willock (6) Hatters - Amari Morgan-Smith (8).
Last time out: As mentioned, a stunning second half fight back saw Luton emerge 6-1 winners at Stonebridge Road.
Janos Kovacs put through his own net in the first period, Luton came out flying as Claude Gnakpa netted a hat-trick, while Kevin Gallen, Tom Craddock and Matthew Barnes-Homer were also on target
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Janos Kovacs (Shane Blackett 85), George Pilkington, Jake Howells, Claude Gnakpa, Freddie Murray, Keith Keane, Simon Heslop, Tom Craddock, Kevin Gallen (Matthew Barnes-Homer 81).
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