Luton chief happy with 'wonderful' FA Cup draw as Town host Harrogate

Hatters boss Nathan JonesHatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Chief relieved not to be facing another Championship side again

Hatters boss Nathan Jones labelled the club’s FA Cup third round draw against League Two Harrogate Town as a ‘wonderful’ tie.

Last term, Luton were drawn against Championship rivals Reading at this stage of the competition, as they had also been paired with the Royals in the first round of the Carabao Cup too.

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The Sulphurites, who Town have never played in their history, reached the Football League in August 2020 after beating Notts County in the National League play-off final, finishing 17th in their first ever campaign in League Two last term.

Simon Weaver’s side are currently 10th in the table, and have already knocked out League One Portsmouth at Fratton Park to reach this stage of the competition.

On the clash, which has been switched to Sunday, January 9, with a 12.30pm kick-off, after being selected for international broadcast, Jones said: “It’s a wonderful draw on every level.

“With the utmost respect, I would prefer Harrogate at home to Reading away or Reading at home like we had last year, because there’s no romance, it’s just another Championship game.

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“I was actually pleased that a few Championship sides drew each other because if, in god’s will, we were to progress then it would mean we would either have someone from the National League, League Two, League One or the Premier League, which is what we want in the cup.

“I don’t want another Championship test.

“Harrogate have had a wonderful recent history, they really have. Simon’s done a wonderful job there, so it will be a consummately difficult test, a real difficult test, we know that.

“It’s not an easier draw than a Reading, it’s just something different to prepare for.

“I would rather go and watch and have a day in Harrogate than have to go to Reading and have to watch them again, so it’s just a better draw.

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“It’s a bit of romance and a home draw, which is wonderful, and a new team, because I’ve never come up against Harrogate before.”

The Hatters have announced ticket prices for the match will be Adult - £15; Over 65 / Under 22 - £10; Youth Under 17 - £3; Acc Junior Under 10 - £1.

Meanwhile, Town’s U18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after a 3-0 defeat at Burnley last week.

Jones added: “It was a decent performance all round.

“We missed a couple of chances but Burnley are a Category One academy so for us to go up against those is very difficult.

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"We realise that but it’s a good experience and good exposure. I’m a little disappointed it wasn’t at Turf Moor because that would’ve given us some more experience, but that’s the way it is.

"It’s about a learning curve as we would like to go to Category Two.

"We are a developing academy and maybe in two, three or four years’ time we’ll be far closer to Burnley’s level on a weekly basis and that’s got to be the goal.”