PREVIEW: Luton Town v Notts County
ike Luton Town, Notts County are under new management with Jamie Fullarton appointed to the helm earlier this month, four days after Nathan Jones took the position at Kenilworth Road.
The similarities don’t end there for the two clubs this season either as both have struggled for results despite being heavily tipped to feature at the right end of the table back in August.
While, like Jones, one of Fullarton’s first jobs is to start trimming a squad of over 30 left by previous boss Ricardo Moniz, after, also like Luton, a summer of vast recruitment.
Fullarton has already allowed Nicky Wroe and Jimmy Spencer to terminate their contracts at Meadow Lane, with Belgian defender Gill Swerts linked to a move away as well.
The new Magpies boss has certainly come with glowing praise from chief executive Julian Winter though who likened him to former Liverpool and Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, whom he worked with when in the same role at Watford.
HATTERS RATED: Luton Town 0 Preston North End 1
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He told the Nottingham Post: “I’ve appointed and worked with first time managers before.
“At Watford it was Brendan Rodgers, and then we appointed another first time manager in Malky Mackay.
“My history in working with first time managers is they come to a point in their careers where this is the next step.
“I am enthused by the appointment of Jamie and I am sure he will be a tremendous asset and we will see that over time.”
This was echoed by chairman Ray Trew, who added: “I don’t think I have ever been as impressed by someone at an interview as I was by Jamie.
“He had us all captivated throughout what turned out to be a lengthy assessment of his suitability for the role.
Fullarton hasn’t had things his own way just yet either, as after an opening 1-0 win at Crawley Town, ending the club’s lengthy search for an away victory, he then suffered a disappointing 2-0 home defeat against AFC Wimbledon last weekend.
Team news: Hatters boss Nathan Jones expects to have keeper Mark Tyler available after a back injury kept him out against Mansfield.
Ryan Hall (ankle) is a major doubt, while both Danny Green (ankle) and Josh McQuoid (knee) are out.
Top scorers: Hatters: Cameron McGeehan (9). County: Izale McLeod (9).
Milestones: Joe Pigott is in line for his Luton debut after signing from Charlton Athletic on Thursday, while Alan Sheehan should made his home bow for Town.
Man in the middle: Keith Hill - experienced official who has taken 23 games this season, including eight Championship clashes, showing 94 yellows and five reds so far.
Refereed Luton once this term, that the 2-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge back in November, while had 35 games last campaign, showing 128 yellows and four reds, including Hatters’ 1-0 win at Plymouth Argyle.
His last Town game prior to that was back in February 2009, when Town went down 2-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two.
Hill also took Luton’s 2-1 defeat at Leeds in the Championship in February 2006 where he sent off Sol Davis in the closing stages, plus a 3-2 League Two home win over Northampton in February 2003.
Assistant referees are Darren Blunden and Akil Howson, with fourth official David Avent
In charge: Jamie Fullarton - 41-year-old who started his career with St Mirren, winning 18 Scotland U21 caps, before a spell in France with FC Bastia.
Joined Crystal Palace in 1997, making over 80 appearances before stints with Bolton Wanderers, Dundee United, Brentford, Southend and Woodlands Wellington, until a serious knee injury ended his career.
Moved to Spain to set up his own football academy, while was appointed youth team coach at Bristol Rovers in July 2011.
Became coach of Bolton U21s in 2012 where he spent two years, and then was in charge of Nottingham Forest’s development squad, before taking his first managerial role this month, named as Notts County chief.
View from the dug out: County boss Jamie Fullarton told the Nottingham Post - “I am looking forward to the game and I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic.
“It’s quite a tight ground and it can be like a cauldron, which brings pressure.
“That will give me another clue on what my players are about.
“It’s that feeling of being up against it and there’s no doubt about it, it will be a test of character.”
One to watch: Izale McLeod- 31-year-old striker is the leading scorer for County this season, scoring nine times in 24 appearances, including two against Luton in the Hatters’ 3-2 defeat at Meadow Lane back in September.
Played over 350 games during his career, scoring more than 150 goals, with Charlton once shelling out £1.1m for his services during August 2007. Made County his 12th club in the summer when signing on a free transfer.
Played for both: Rob Matthews - striker started his career at Notts County in 1992, scoring 11 goals in 43 games, before a move to Luton Town, where he played 12 times, without ever finding the net.
Spells followed at the likes of York, Bury and Stockport, before he finished his career with Mossley in 2004.
Friendly faces: Alan Sheehan spent three years with Notts County from 2011-14, captaining the side and making over 125 appearances.
He then returned to Meadow Lane earlier this season for another three months on loan, playing a further 15 times, scoring twice.
Winger Paddy McCourt ended last term on loan at Notts County from Brighton, playing 11 times and scoring once.
Nathan Doyle had a loan spell with County in the 2006-07 season from Derby, where he played 12 times, while Ryan Hall had a brief stay at the Magpies, playing six times while on loan from Rotherham last year.
For County, goalkeeping coach Kevin Pilkingon played 33 times for Luton between November 2009 and July 2012 before joining the Magpies in his current role.
Defender Thierry Audel was also on trial with Luton when Paul Buckle was in charge during December 2012.
We’ve got form: Luton have a fine record against Notts County at Kenilworth Road since games began with an FA Cup tie back in 1912.
The Hatters have won 21 matches, drawing eight and losing just six times, scoring a hefty 81 goals, conceding only 38 in reply.
Hatters have enjoyed no less than three 6-0 wins too, with Hugh Billington scoring five in an FA Cup triumph in 1947, plus other victories in 1951 and 1978.
Last time out: Luton drew 1-1 in their last meeting with Notts County at Kenilworth Road, a League Two contest during August 2008.
Chris Martin had put Hatters ahead on 49 minutes, but Jamie Forrester’s penalty four minutes later secured the Magpies a point.
Hatters: Dean Brill, Claude Gnakpa, Sol Davis, Asa Hall (Kevin Watson 71), George Pilkington, Lewis Emanuel, Rossi Jarvis (Tristan Plummer 64), Kevin Nicholls, Michael Spillane, Sam Parkin, Chris Martin.
Subs not used: Conrad Logan, Ian Roper, Keith Keane.
Referee: Anthony Bates.