Hylton could have a rare Trophy outing against Shrimpers

Danny Hylton could face Southend this evening
Danny Hylton could face Southend this evening

Hatters striker Danny Hylton is set to play his first Checkatrade Trophy game in over a year when Town host Southend United in the second round at Kenilworth Road this evening.

The forward had 45 minutes of the 2-1 group stage win over Tottenham U21s in August 2017, only his third appearance in the competition for Luton since signing during the summer of 2016.

Normally he doesn’t feature too much in the Checkatrade, but it could be an opportunity to play Danny if we see it.

Nathan Jones

After sitting out four matches recently due to suspension, Hylton was back on the bench, coming off in the closing stages at Bury on Saturday, and when asked if he could start tonight, boss Nathan Jones said: “It’s strange to say that about Danny Hylton as he’s been such a big, massive player for us really.

“Normally he doesn’t feature too much in the Checkatrade, but it could be an opportunity to play Danny if we see it. But then we’ve also got a real tough fixture at home on Saturday (against Fleetwood), so it depends on what we’re going to do.

“But whatever happens, we’ll be strong, very strong, so well see.”

Another player who might feature is Luke Berry, after the midfielder has made a successful return to full training.

Jones continued: “Luke is back and training at a real, real good level, so I can play him, I can put him back involved.

“What I don’t want to do is include him and then for anything to happen.

“So we have to be sure that he’s in a real good fitness level to do that, because it’s going to be a real interesting second half of the season and we really need Luke fit for that.

“We’ll weigh that up, I’ll speak to him and we’ll see where we are.

“He’s in a good place, training very, very well, back to the old Luke Berry which is really pleasing for us.”

Fellow midfielder Jorge Grant is also fit after he was absent from the 1-0 win at Gigg Lane, with Jones saying: “He’s had a tight groin.

“We brought him on late in the Bradford game, which is something we might have to look at, and then he just felt his groin.

“It’s a cold night and when he goes on, he wants to press and burst around and he did put in a good shift when he came on, albeit for a short period of time.

“We’ve just had to take him out of training a little bit, we didn’t want to risk him for the weekend, so he’s been back now with us, he may get some minutes.”

With Jack Senior available as well, the only definite player missing is midfielder Alan McCormack.

Jones added: “He just felt his calf in the Gillingham game late on, didn’t come on, but that’s something we’ve had to persevere with Macca.

“That’s why it’s very difficult sometimes to bring him on from the bench as he has picked up a few little calf niggles.

“He’s had a real long spell without picking up an injury, he hasn’t played as many minutes as he probably would have liked which could be a contributory factor to why he’s stayed fit for so long.

“He’s the only one at the moment who’s out, but he’s not too far away, so that’s good.”

Jones promised a strong side will face the Shrimpers with the aim of continuing the club’s fine record in the competition, reaching the third round and semi-final in the last two seasons.

He added: “We’re looking very strong squad-wise.

“We’ve not far off got a full squad to choose from which is really good as we’ve got a tough Christmas fixture list coming up, so we can go into it really strong numbers-wise and strength-wise.

“We want to get through this round, but we will make changes, how many will determine on what we feel will win us the game.

“There will be one or two who need the minutes, one or two who are pushing as well, that are so close to the first team that need their opportunity.”