Edwards knows his Luton side have to deal with 'expectancy' of being favourites against Mariners

Hatters boss Rob EdwardsHatters boss Rob Edwards
Hatters boss Rob Edwards
Town chief warns his side to deal with the pressure at Kenilworth Road

Luton boss Rob Edwards is well aware his side have to deal with the favourites tag that will be placed on them ahead of their FA Cup fourth round clash at home to Grimsby Town this afternoon.

The Hatters, sitting seventh in the Championship after four wins from five, take on a Mariners team, who won promotion back to the Football League last season, and are 16th in League Two, 10 points clear of the drop zone and 11 adrift of the play-offs.

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On a run of six defeats in 11, they have excelled in the FA Cup, knocking out three League One sides on their way to this stage, including thrashing promotion chasing Plymouth 5-1 and also defeating Cambridge United and Burton Albion.

Their last league game saw them hammered 5-0 at Swindon though, as ahead of the contest, Edwards said: “We’ve got to deal with that expectancy and we’ve got to deliver a performance.

“The only way we win is by winning at the weekend and we accept that, I know that.

"There’s not a, ‘oh we played well but,’ we have to accept that pressure for this game and we have to turn up.

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“We’ve been talking about it all week, we know that we’re favourites, we’re at home, up against a team that are a couple of divisions below, so we know what we have to do.

“All the while respecting Grimsby, knowing they’ve knocked out three teams already from the league above them and it’s certainly not going to be easy.

"We’ve got to make sure that we’re at it, that we’re respectful, incredibly hard-working, as we have been, because that’s what helps us wins football matches.

“They’ve played well enough to win those games, I’m sure Paul (Hurst, manager) would agree they’ve deserved it.

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"The previous two have been quite tight and there was a really good win in there against Plymouth.

“Every game that they go into - and this is the same for every team, it doesn’t matter what level - you have to run, fight, win your duels and do the basics right.

“They’ve done that really well and they’ve had the quality to score more goals than the opposition as well.

“Those basics and those fundamentals are essential in any game but we can’t just assume or turn up and think it’s going to happen.

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“No-one’s going to give us anything and Grimsby certainly aren’t going to give us anything.

"We’ve got to take it, earn it and those are the things we’ll be talking about.”

While Town have travelling back and forth to Wigan in the last few weeks or so, the Mariners have had their feet up following the postponements of their matches against Harrogate Town and Crawley Town.

Edwards doesn’t think it will unduly affect them though, saying: “They’ve had a little bit of a stop-start period so that’s for them to deal with.

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"However they come out, I’m expecting whether they play five games in a week or they’ve had the run that they’ve had recently, they’re going to be right at it, they’re going to be energised and euthisiastic.

"The pressure is off them, it’s one for them to come and enjoy and give their best.

"We know that, that’s the beauty of the FA Cup and we have to make sure we’re on it and we’re respectful and do the things we do well very well on the weekend otherwise we can get turned over like other teams have done already in the FA Cup this year.”

The fact that Grimsby managed to fight their way back out of the National League at the first time of asking last term was largely thanks to the goals of striker John McAtee, who scoed 16 for the Mariners, including one in the play-off final victory over Solihull Moors.

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He was then snapped up by the Hatters for an undlsci fee in the summer, although immediately loaned back to Blundell Park, to recover from a shoulder injury picked up against Leyton Orient on the opening day.

McAtee has since returned to full fitness, netting once in 11 games, and on whether watching his striker in action has aided his preparation for the cup tie, Edwards said: “I’ve been to see them live, quite early on when we got the job.

"It worked out well, we weren’t playing, but there were games that were on in the league below.

“So, I saw him live against Stevenage quite early on when we got the job, so that was good.

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"I’ve been able to see little bits, snippets and clips as well, so maybe a little bit more than usual, but we’ve gone into the same detail that we’d go into for any other game.”

The Mariners are bringing around 1,500 supporters to Kenilworth Road having sold out their away end, something that Edwards expects to add to the contest.

Having a squad that contains a number who have plied their trade in the lower leagues might be of benefit too for Luton, as the boss added: “It’ll make for a really good atmosphere as there always is at home.

“Whether that helps (playing in League Two before) or not I’m not too sure.

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"Obviously they’ll have some experience of that level of football, but we are where we are now, we’re a Championship team and doing really well at the moment in the Championship, and we’ve got to play like that on the weekend.

"We’ve got to expect a really tough game, they’ve got qualities, they’ve shown that.

"We will have gameplan like we always do, but we have to turn up and make sure we do the things that I bang on to you lot about, that we do well.

"We have to run, we have to fight, we have to win our duels, we have to do the basics really, really well.”