PREVIEW: Cambridge United v Luton Town
Cambridge have definitely been enjoying the newly christened '˜bounce' factor after deciding to dismiss manager Shaun Derry last month.
The former Notts County boss had been in charge for two-and-a-half years at the Abbey, but his departure was announced just minutes after a goalless draw with Lincoln, following a run two wins in 12 games.
Ex-Colchester chief Joe Dune took over and the U’s immediately triumphed 3-2 at Chesterfield, no easy place as Luton found out, before seeing off Grimsby and Notts County in front of their own fans.
That ended with a 1-0 defeat at promotion chasing Accrington last weekend, but a haul of nine points from 12 is an impressive for Dunne during his time in charge thus far.
Off the field there has been change at the club too, with former chairman Paul Barry becoming the new owner, while Jez George resigned from his role as chief executive, although has remained in an advisory capacity.
Barry is based in the United States but was brought up in Cambridge, has been an investor for 18 years and the club’s largest shareholder since 2008, replaced as U’s chairman by Dave Doggett after stepping down in 2013.
Team news: Luton have pretty much a clean bill of health with Scott Cuthbert, Alan McCormack and Elliot Lee back in full training, while Dan Potts is available after his ban too.
For Cambridge, defender Leon Legge returns to he squad along with George Maris, but Piero Mingoia is still out.
Top scorers: Hatters – Danny Hylton (17). United – Uche Ikpeazu (13).
Milestones: Town centre half Johnny Mullins is in line for his 50th appearance for the club should he feature against Cambridge.
Man in the middle: John Brooks has replaced Brett Huxtable who was scheduled to be in charge, with the official taking 38 games so far this season, showing 116 yellows and five reds.
Second Town match he has had in his career, having refereed the 3-0 win over Hartlepool last term.
Referee assistants are John Farries and Paul Kelly, with the fourth official Gregory Read
In charge: Joe Dunne – 44-year-old former defender who played for Gillingham, Colchester United and Dover Athletic during his career, winning one Republic of Ireland U21 cap too.
Injuries forced him to retire at 29, as he began coaching at Colchester United, promoted up from the youth ranks to assistant manager in 2010 after four games as caretaker boss the year before.
Named permanent manager in 2012 when John Ward left, guiding the club to League One safety twice, before leaving in September 2014.
Joined the U’s as assistant to Shaun Derry in May 2015 and has taken the reins temporarily after the manager’s departure last month.
View from the opposition: United caretaker boss Joe Dunne talking to the Cambridge News: “There were many wins they (Luton) got in the autumn and obviously we were a victim of one of those.
“They are top of their league for a reason. They’ve got top players and player that can do the job that Nathan (Jones) wants them to do.
“A top team are coming to town so it’s a great opportunity for us to re-test ourselves which is what we want. We want constant challenges and they come no bigger than these guys coming to town.
“I don’t need to be told what they can do, I don’t need to be told they can score goals, I don’t need to be told they can put out two teams.
“I’m interested in what we can do, I want to see what they can’t do, and that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to try and find weaknesses that allow you to maximise what we’ve got.
“Our focus has been all about what we can do as they must be doing something right – they’re top of the league – so if we don’t focus on ourselves we’ll end up getting side-tracked into everything they’re great at.”
Friendly faces: Luke Berry came through the ranks at Cambridge and played over 100 times before moving to Barnsley for a season in July 2014.
Returned to the U’s and was the club’s top scorer last term, netting 22 times, making it 59 goals in 240 games for the club.
Joined Luton in August after the Hatters paid an undisclosed fee for his services.
Town’s goalkeeper coach Kevin Dearden was with Cambridge on loan from Spurs in 1989, playing 15 games.
Defender Greg Taylor who played 43 games for Luton, scoring once, is at United and recently passed 200 matches for the club, scoring three goals, having signed in June 2013.
We’ve got form: Hatters have thoroughly enjoyed themselves on their recent travels to Cambridge, unbeaten in a league clash at the Abbey since 2000, a run spanning eight games.
They have won their last three visits, scoring seven and conceding just one, while the other five matches were all draws.
The cup games have been nip and tuck too, with both sides having one FA Cup win apiece and the other FA Trophy clash finishing all square at 2-2.
In total, Luton have won seven, drawn eight and lost just five in their 20 visits.
Last time out: A stunning second half performance saw Luton emerge 3-0 winners at Cambridge last season.
The visitors went in front on 62 minutes through Josh Coulsen’s own goal, as he turned in Glen Rea’s header, before Jack Marriott’s thunderbolt 60 seconds later made it 2-0 and Danny Hylton’s 90th minute strike sealed the win.
Hatters: Christian Walton, Stephen O’Donnell, Dan Potts, Johnny Mullins, Glen Rea, Cameron McGeehan, Jordan Cook, Olly Lee (Scott Cuthbert 28), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Jonathan Smith 87), Danny Hylton, Jack Marriott (Isaac Vassell 89).
Subs not used: Craig King, James Justin, Jake Gray, Josh McQuoid.
Referee: David Webb.