PREVIEW: Luton Town v Cambridge United

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All eyes have been on Cambridge United recently as they proved the magic of the FA Cup is alive and kicking against Premier League giants Manchester United.

Richard Money’s side battled to a goalless draw at the Abbey Stadium to earn a money-spinning replay at Old Trafford that could see them pocket over £1.5million.

The club, who recently announced they had shelved plans for a new ground and will instead redevelop their current surroundings, confirmed they would spend part of their windfall on the stadium, including new toilets and tea bars.

On the pitch, Money admitted the excesses of playing the Red Devils and all the exposure since had played its part on Tuesday night when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Dagenham & Redbridge.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It’s tired minds, it’s the mental side of it, coming down from that occasion on Friday night and then getting up again, even for top players it’s difficult.

“So for players at our level it’s even more difficult and you can bet your life there will be a lot of people around the country who have had a few pounds on Dagenham.”

On the pitch, a disappointing pre-Christmas saw Cambridge’s FA Cup form gloss over some average league form as they won just one of their seven games, taking five points from a possible 21.

Since the turn of the year though, the U’s have perked up immeasurably, knocking Hatters out of the FA Cup and then winning back to back league matches for the first time since October, triumphing at Carlisle before hammering Newport 4-0.

U’s haven’t fared too badly on the road this season either, winning four, drawing four and losing five, scoring 17 but conceding 18 times.

After a 1-0 defeat against Luton earlier in the campaign, Money believes it’s about time that Cambridge transferred their cup form into league meetings with his former side.

He said: “I think the games between the teams have been hard fought, very competitive, good quality and very close.

“We’ve won both cup ties that have taken us the first time to Wembley and the second time to Old Trafford. You could argue they were slightly the better team in both of those cup competitions.

“In the league we think we’ve been the better team. Certainly last year we drew both games and should have won both games, and this year, until the sending off, we were the better team and ended up losing 1-0.

“We think we owe them one in the league and it’s a game that we’re very anxious to go and get three points from.”

Cambridge have been active in the transfer window too, signing Cameron McGeehan on loan for a month, plus bringing in Dominic Ball from Spurs, while allowing Delano Sam-Yorke to join permanently.

Team news: Luton are finally over the worst of their injuries, with just Paul Benson (leg), Luke Rooney (hernia) and Curtley Williams (shoulder) definitely out.

Ricky Miller is doubtful with a toe injury, but Alex Lawless, Luke Guttridge and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu are all available for selection and could be on the bench.

For Cambridge, Harrison Dunk has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering knee ligament damage against Dagenham on Tuesday night, while Liam Hughes is also missing.

Top scorers: Hatters: Mark Cullen (9). United: Kwesi Appiah (8).

Milestones: Should midfielder Luke Guttridge make it on to the pitch this weekend, it will be his 50th appearance for Town since joining on a free from Northampton in the summer of 2013.

Man in the middle: Jeremy Simpson - Lancashire official who has take 20 games so far this season, showing 71 yellows and seven reds.

Last Hatters game was the 2-1 defeat to York City in the Conference play-off final where he controversially allowed Matty Blair’s clearly offside goal to stand, while he also had the whistle for the 0-0 draw at Gateshead.

Officiated 33 games last term where he brandished 90 yellow cards and five reds.

The assistant referees are Ashvin Degnarain and Craig Hicks, with Mathew Buonassisi the fourth official.

In charge: Richard Money - 59-year-old who began his playing days at Scunthorpe as a defender, before spells at Liverpool, Luton, Portsmouth and Fulham among others during the 1970s-80s.

At Anfield he was an unused substitute in the 1981 European Cup Final against Real Madrid, having played in the semi-final.

Became caretaker player/manager of Scunthorpe at the end of his playing career, before being appointed youth team coach at Aston Villa and then coach first at Nottingham Forest and Manchester City.

Was academy director and first team coach at Coventry City, but moved to Sweden where he had spells at AIK and Västerås SK, also coaching in Australia with Newcastle United Jets.

Returned to England to become manager of Walsall in May 2006 and then took the role of academy director at Newcastle in June 2008.

Appointed Hatters boss in October 2009, but had a difficult relationship with Luton fans and left in March 2011.

Was announced on October 4, 2012 that he had joined Cambridge United as head coach, with then current manager, Jez George, returning to his role as director of football and led the U’s to promotion via the play-offs and the FA Trophy last season.

View from the opposition: Defender Michael Nelson, speaking to the Cambridge Evening News - “Although we didn’t win on Tuesday night (against Dagenham), we’ve kept our unbeaten run going and we can take that into Saturday.

“We’ll get rested up, prepared and then look to extend the unbeaten run again.

“It’s just another game and, with the club spending a lot of time to get back here, every game’s massive until we get a points total which secures the club’s status in the league.

“That’s the bare minimum because we’re looking up, not looking down.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up and have had a lot lately, so the boys had to dig deep and we’ll go again on Saturday.”

One to watch: Winger Ryan Donaldson has been catching the eye for Cambridge recently, with some fine displays.

The 23-year-old started his career with Newcastle, making six appearances, but had loan spells with Hartlepool and Tranmere before moving to Gateshead.

Snapped up by Cambridge in May 2013 and has played over 50 games now, while this season has scored six times, including against Luton in the FA Cup earlier this month.

Friendly faces: There are a host of links between both sides, most notably, ex-Town boss Richard Money, who is in charge at the Abbey.

The former Luton chief managed Hatters between October 2009 and March 2011, while he also played 49 times for the club, scoring once during 1981-82.

Alan Neilson is assistant coach at the Abbey, with the 42-year-old making 63 appearances for Town, scoring once during 2002-05.

He then became part of the management staff, having three spells as caretaker boss during four years, before leaving last summer.

Midfielder Cameron McGeehan, who was big part of Luton’s Conference title win last season, scoring three times in 18 games, recently joined Cambridge on a one-month loan deal.

Defender Greg Taylor made 43 appearances, scoring once for Town, until signing for Cambridge and has played over 75 times, signing a new deal recently.

For Luton, midfielder Luke Guttridge spent five years at Cambridge during 2000-2005, making over 150 appearances, scoring 17 league goals.

Striker Jayden Stockley had a brief spell with the U’s earlier this season, netting twice on his debut, before leaving after playing just four times.

Town first team coach Hakan Hayrettin enjoyed a season at the Abbey Stadium too, making 17 appearances in the 1994-95 campaign.

We’ve got form: Hatters have by far the better record over Cambridge in league meetings at Kenilworth Road, winning five, drawing six and losing just one of the previous 12 meetings.

The only defeat came back in the Conference during the 2011-12 season when Rory McAuley’s strike settled it for the visitors.

Goals have never been the order of the day, with Luton scoring just 15 and conceding nine in that time, with the biggest wins are 2-0 triumphs in the 2010-11 campaign and back in 1993 when Kerry Dixon and Scott Oakes settled a Division One contest.

Last time out: Luton’s previous league meeting at Kenilworth Road with Cambridge ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw last season.

Hatters: Mark Tyler, Ronnie Henry, Scott Griffiths, Steve McNulty, Alex Lacey, Jonathan Smith, Luke Guttridge, Shaun Whalley, Jon Shaw (Dave Martin 46), Mark Cullen (Jake Howells 31), Andre Gray.

Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Andy Parry, Matt Robinson.

Referee: Wayne Barratt.

Attendance: 7,517.