PREVIEW: Yeovil Town v Luton Town
Yeovil Town will go into their clash against the Hatters with spirits most definitely boosted after a stunning result last Monday.
Travelling to the side with the meanest defence in the league, Coventry City, the hosts on a game unbeaten run too, the Glovers didn’t just beat them, but annihilated them, winning 6-2 to score six away in the Football League for the first time in their history.
The win, which unsurprisingly was named LMA Performance of the Week, followed up a 1-0 victory at Colchester, plus a 0-0 draw at Exeter City, ending a run of four defeats in all competitions, which included missing out on a Wembley appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy, beaten by League One Shrewsbury.
Although well clear of relegation, the Glovers have had patchy form in front of their own fans this season, with eight wins and seven defeats, going into the match on the back of successive defeats without a goal on home turf, beaten by Carlisle (1-0) and Newport (2-0).
Despite that, boss Darren Way can’t wait to return to Huish Park, saying: “It’s good to be back at home. It’s where you want to play games, in front of your home supporters and we should have a good crowd.”
The Yeovil chief insisted he isn’t giving a thought to gaining some payback over Luton too for the 8-2 hammering they dished out on the opening day of the campaign back in August at Kenilworth Road too, adding: “It’s not about revenge, it’s going to be about focusing on the performance.
“Everyone wants to mention revenge but for us it’s about getting the focus right.
“The majority were not involved in that game and we’re off the back of some very, very good results and good performances so that’s built big, big confidence.
“Their main threat is (Danny) Hylton. He’s very clever and the last game he played here, it was like a theatre to him.
“We’re at the back end of the season now where we’ve had a long time to work with these players and they know what my principles are, what the team principles are and have put that into place on a consistent basis.
Team news: Luton are expected to be without Scott Cuthbert following his groin injury against Mansfield, while Lawson D’Ath (knee) and Luke Berry (ankle) are out.
Yeovil’s Jake Gray is out of the season with an ankle injury, while Artur Krysiak and Nathan Smith face long lay-offs with separate knee injuries.
Top scorers: Hatters – James Collins (20). Glovers - Francois Zoko (14).
Man in the middle: Brendan Malone - only refereed four games this season, his first on February 27, showing 14 yellows.
Did take 27 games last term, with 104 cautions and three reds, including Luton’s 2-0 home defeat to Stevenage in March.
Officiated Hatters twice in the 2015-16 campaign, the 3-2 win at Exeter City, plus a 2-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Kenilworth Road, where he sent off Karleigh Osbourne after 35 minutes.
Only other Town match was a 1-0 defeat at Newport County in March 2015, with Aaron O’Connor scoring the only goal.
Assistant referees are Adrian Tranter and Simon Knapp, with the fourth official Adam Penwell.
In charge: Darren Way, 38-year-old, who started his playing career at Norwich City, but failed to make a first team appearance for the Canaries and on his release, signed for Yeovil.
Was a firm fans favourite at Huish Park, leaving in January 2006 to sign for Swansea City for a fee of £150,000, but came back to the Glovers in 2008 and on retiring in 2010, became the club’s new first team coach.
After five years in the role, briefly acting as assistant manager, he was appointed interim manager following the sacking of Paul Sturrock, in December 2015.
He did enough in those first matches to be officially appointed as manager on December 31 and signed a three year contract in April 2016.
View from the opposition: Barnsley loanee Jared Bird talking to the club’s official website: “On our day we can beat anyone in the league as we showed on Monday against a high-flying side (Coventry) unbeaten in seven games.
“We went and turned them over 6-2 so anything is possible.
“Obviously they’re (Luton) a top side but we need to get another result at the weekend so we’ll do everything in our power to get the win.
“It’s not revenge at all, players are more focussed on this game. That was at the start of the season and we’re in a much better place now. We can definitely get the win if we perform on the day.”
Friendly faces: Town boss Nathan Jones had seven years with Yeovil from 2005-2012, playing over 200 times for the club.
Jones also became first-team coach of Yeovil Town Ladies from November 2007, then named player-assistant manager of the first team, before becoming first-team coach until his departure in 2012.
Keeper Marek Stech was something of a cult hero at Yeovil, playing 90 times for the club during two spells, one on loan from West Ham and then a permanent switch in July 2012.
Helped the Glovers reach the Championship by winning the League One play-offs before moving to Sparta Prague in July 2014.
Attacker Harry Cornick was on loan at Yeovil from Bournemouth in the 2015-16 campaign, making 42 appearances, scoring eight times.
Jordan Cook had a loan spell in the 2012-13 season playing just once, that a 29 minutes substitute appearance in a 2-0 home defeat to Swindon, James Collins on target for the Robins.
Meanwhile, Lawson D’Ath also had a brief stint in Somerset between February 2012-May 2013, playing 14 times and scoring once.
Ex-Town midfielder Jake Gray is at Huish Park too, playing 37 times for the Glovers scoring four goals until he suffered an ankle injury recently.
Played for both: Jake Howells. One of Luton’s longest serving players, having made 334 appearances for the Hatters, he joined Yeovil on loan in September 2015 for three months, playing seven games.
Came back to Kenilworth Road, before being released in the summer of 2016 and joined Dagenham in January 2017, recently playing his 400th professional game.
One to watch: Alex Fisher - 27-year-old striker who signed for Yeovil on a free transfer in January after spending the first half of the season at Scottish Premiership side Motherwell where he failed to score in 18 matches.
Netted on his third Glovers game in the 2-0 win over Cambridge and bagged a double during the 6-2 thumping of Coventry on Monday, plus the winner at Colchester the game before, making it four goals in 11 and three in last two,
Started life at Oxford United, dropping into non-league and then heading out to Spain in 2010, with spells in Belgium and Italy, returning to Mansfield in June 2014.
Went to Torquay and then north of the border to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, heading to Motherwell in June 2017.
We’ve got form: Hatters have only made three trips to Huish Park in their history, winning one, drawing one and losing one.
They started with a 0-0 draw back in League One during October 2007, before contriving to let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2 in August 2015 before a first victory last season.
Last time out: Luton romped to a 4-0 victory at Yeovil last season as Danny Hylton gave Town the lead on seven minutes from the penalty spot after Isaac Vassell was fouled, then adding a second (31) after a quickfire counter attack.
Glen Rea netted the third 10 minutes into the second period and then Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu completed the rout with five to go.
Hatters: Matt Macey, Stephen O’Donnell, Alan Sheehan, Scott Cuthbert, Glen Rea, Jonathan Smith, Jake Gray (Dan Potts 66), Jordan Cook, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Danny Hylton (Jack Marriott 76), Isaac Vassell (Ollie Palmer 69).
Subs not used: Stuart Moore, Johnny Mullins, James Justin, Lawson D’Ath.
Referee: Darren Handley.