PREVIEW: Yeovil Town v Luton Town

After suffering relegation from League One last season, Yeovil are finding life extremely difficult in the fourth tier of English football.

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 21st August 2015, 10:04 am

The Glovers are now just one of two teams without a point in Sky Bet League Two this term, after their latest defeat, a 1-0 reverse at York City on Tuesday night.

They crashed out of the Capital One Cup with defeat to QPR and have also now gone almost 300 minutes without a goal too, since Matt Dolan netted from the penalty spot at Exeter City on the opening day.

It’s a dramatically changed squad at Huish Park this season after boss Paul Sturrock came in during April, but failed to halt an already impending slide out of the league.

The former Plymouth and Swindon manager has already brought in 18 new players, including the likes of Jack Compton, Alex Lacey, Ryan Dickson, Ben Tozer and Jamie Burrows, while he has been busy in the loan market as well, with five players signed, such as defender Stephen Arthurworrey from Fulham and Bournemouth’s Harry Cornick.

Injuries have played their part massively though this term in Yeovil’s dire start as they have had just 15 players to pick from at times, but despite the woeful opening, Sturrock remains confident his side can reverse their form.

He told the Western Gazette: “This team will turn. The club has been on a spiral downwards because of a losing mentality, but when we’re healthy and there’s competition for places, we’ll start climbing this league.

“Football has a crazy way of kicking you in the teeth when you’re down and lady luck has turned her bottom on us at the minute, but I hope soon she’ll turn round and give us a smile.

“It’s been a very hard month and we’ve got to bite and scratch to get out way through it and we’ve got to soldier on.”

Away from the pitch, Yeovil have submitted a new application for plans to develop Huish Park and the land around it.

The outline planning application includes proposals to redevelop the stadium and for new retail and residential units, a hotel, a sport and community hall, a sports injury clinic and a coffee shop.

Club chairman John Fry said: “This is an absolutely vital part of our strategy to take the club forward.

“We feel that the new application is a big step forward and is of enormous importance to the town, district and club.

“It is crucial that we guarantee the longer-term financial future and stability of the club.”

Team news: Luton boss John Still could be without both Nathan Doyle as he suffered a muscle injury against Bristol Rovers in the week. Dan Potts is a doubt too after picking up a knock in a training game with MK Dons, while Magnus Okuonghae continues to regain full fitness.

For Yeovil, Wes Fogden is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering multiple hand injuries at York City, while Ryan Dickson is also missing, but Matt Dolan should be available after suspension.

The Glovers have a host of other injuries too with Ben Tozer, Kevin Dawson, Jordan Gibbons, SImon Gillett, Marc Laird and Omar Sowunmi all doubtful.

Top scorers - Hatters: Jack Marriott (2). Glovers: Marc Laird, Matt Dolan (1).

Man in the middle: Simon Hooper - official has taken four games so far this season, showing five yellows and no reds yet.

Last campaign, he had 40 matches, including the League Two play-off final, brandishing 131 yellows and sending off four players too.

First time he has taken a Luton game since April 2009 when he had the whistle for a 0-0 draw in League Two against Chesterfield at Kenilworth Road.

Assistant referees are Mark Howes and Christopher Wade with Justin Amey the fourth official.

In charge: Paul Sturrock. 58-year-old who was a one club man in his playing days, making over 500 appearance for Dundee United between 1974-89, winning the league title and League Cup twice, also playing 20 times for Scotland, including going to both 1982 and 1986 World Cups.

Stayed on as coach at Tannadice for five years, before his managerial career began at St Johnstone in 1993, where he went on to win the Scottish First Division title in 1996–97 then returning to Dundee United as manager in September 1998.

Resigned from United in August 2000 to move to Plymouth Argyle, leading the Pilgrims to the Third Division title in, before he was named Southampton manager in March 2004, but only lasted six months, as he left by mutual consent.

Sturrock was back in the game in September though, appointed Sheffield Wednesday boss, a job he held until October 2006 as he was sacked, before heading to Swindon in November, and winning promotion to League One.

However, on November 27, 2007, he resigned from the County Ground after just over a year to head back to Plymouth, taking the club into their highest position in the league in over 20 years, 10th in the Championship.

Removed from his position on December 10, 2009 and was then confirmed manager of Southend United in July, 2010, a position he held until March 2013.

After a brief spell as an advisor to Conference Premier side Torquay United, he was then named manager of Yeovil on April 9, 2015, with the club already all but relegated to League Two.

View from the opposition: Paul Sturrock speaking to the Western Gazette - “Their manager is an excellent manager, a very experienced man, I’d class him as a friend.

“He’s done very, very well to get Luton up as three or four managers went there to have a go when they were in the Conference and he turned them around.

“Saying, that I hope his team is horrible on Saturday. They’ve got a lot of experienced players who can hurt you, (Craig) Mackail-Smith has come down the league and has a good goalscoring record, (Paul) Benson too, (Paddy) McCourt’s a playmaker.

“It’s a tough game for us, but we’re at home. Expectation levels are dropping dramatically but who knows, the important thing is we know there’s a bit of fight in us still.”

One to watch: Ryan Bird, 27-year-old striker who penned a permanent two year deal with Yeovil during the summer after leaving Cambridge.

Scored six goals in 31 appearances for the U’s last term, while also bagging two in six during a loan spell with Hartlepool too.

Latecomer to the professional game as the forward was snapped up by Portsmouth in July 2013 after a prolific time at non-league Burnham.

Friendly faces: Alex Lacey, young centre half came through the ranks at Kenilworth Road, making 51 appearance, scoring once, before his move to Yeovil during the summer.

Has played in all four games for the Glovers this season, including a stint in central midfield at York on Tuesday.

Keeper Mark Tyler spent a month on loan at Huish Park in the 1996-97 season, but didn’t play a first team game.

Last time out: Luton were held to a goalless draw on their only other ever visit to Huish Park, that a League One clash in October 2007.

Hatters: Ben Alnwick, Chris Perry, Alan Goodall, Chris Coyne, Jaroslaw Fojut, David Edwards, Steve Robinson, David Bell (Drew Talbot 46), Matthew Spring, Darren Currie, Calvin Andrew.

Subs not used: Richard Jackson, Don Hutchison, Ahmet Brkovic, Paul McVeigh.

Attendance: 4,848.