PREVIEW: Luton Town v Cambridge United

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New Cambridge United boss Shaun Derry has enjoyed an up and down start to life at the Abbey after replacing ex-Luton Town manager Richard Money in the hot seat before Christmas.

The former Notts County chief was appointed on November 12 and lost his first two matches in charge, against Oxford and Accrington, turned things around in style by triumphing 4-2 at Morecambe.

He then saw off his old club, before starting December by being knocked out of the FA Cup at home to League One Doncaster.

However, the U’s league form was then almost exemplary for the rest of the month, taking 10 points from a possible 12, including a superb 2-1 win at Plymouth, which saw Derry named League Two manager of the month.

The curse that usually follows the award well and truly struck as Cambridge were hammered 4-1 at home by AFC Wimbledon and then lost 1-0 at Crawley last weekend to sit 13th in the table.

The boss is looking to improve his attacking options during the transfer window after selling striker Rory Gaffney to Bristol Rovers this week for an undisclosed fee.

Hatters’ fans won’t be too disappointed by the exit of Gaffney as he had netted twice against Luton for the Pirates last time out.

However, Derry has today captured formed loanee Ben Williamson for Gillingham on a permanent deal, the striker signing an 18-month deal after scoring three times in eight games while at the Abbey.

Derry has also gone about trimming a squad he felt was too large as well, with loan players Mickey Demetriou and Terry Kennedy both leaving, while Jeff Hughes and ex-Hatter Keith Keane have joined Tranmere and Stevenage respectively on a temporary basis.

They have made two additions as well though, signing midfielder James Dunne from Portsmouth for the rest of the season, with QPR full back Darnell Furlong on loan for a month too.

Team news: Luton Town boss Nathan Jones reported a clean bill of health for the Hatters at his press conference on Thursday.

For Cambridge, ex-Town defender Greg Taylor is out for the rest of the season after undergoing ankle surgery, while a late call will be made on Ryan Donaldson’s fitness.

Top scorers: Hatters: Cameron McGeehan (9). United: Barry Corr (12).

Milestones: If selected, then Luton midfielder Luke Guttridge will make his 75th appearance for the Hatters.

Man in the middle: Andrew Madley - West Yorkshire official has taken 25 games this season, showing 78 yellows and three reds so far.

Only previous visit to Kenilworth Road came last campaign when he had the whistle for 1-0 home defeat to Burton Albion, in a campaign he brandished 105 yellows but just three red cards.

Assistant referees are Alan Dale and Nick Hobbis with the fourth official Christopher Pollard.

In charge: Shaun Derry - 38-year-old, who had a lengthy playing career, making over 550 appearances during spells with the likes of Notts County, Sheffield United, Portsmouth, Crystal Palace and QPR, before hanging his boots up in 2013.

Appointed Notts County boss in November 2013 and saved the Magpies from relegation, but was sacked in March 2015 with the Magpies struggling against the drop once more.

Named Cambridge United manager in November last year, replacing former Luton chief Richard Money.

View from the dug out: Cambridge boss Shaun Derry - “It’s going to be a big game for both teams and sets of fans, and both managers because Nathan (Jones) is going to want to hit the ground running, but I know what we can produce.

“I really like these kind of games. I love the intensity of them, so it probably does give it more of an edge and I’m hoping we can take that edge into the game because we want to get back to winning ways.”

One to watch: Barry Corr - Experienced striker is having a terrific debut season with Cambridge, scoring 12 goals in 20 games so far.

The 30-year-old joined in the summer after leaving Southend, where he notched 63 times in 185 appearances.

Has also been with Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Swindon and Exeter earlier in his career.

Friendly faces: For Luton, midfielder Luke Guttridge spent five years at Cambridge during 2000-2005, making over 150 appearances, scoring 17 league goals.

Midfielder Cameron McGeehan had a loan spell at Cambridge last season too, score three times in six games, playing in the FA Cup at Old Trafford, before opting to sign for the Hatters.

Town’s goalkeeper coach Kevin Dearden made his professional debut for Cambridge too after joining on loan from Spurs back in 1989.

U’s defender Greg Taylor made 43 appearances, scoring once for Town, until signing for Cambridge and has now made over 100 times.

Midfielder Keith Keane, who played 285 times for Luton, is also with the club, but has only made five appearances and joined Stevenage on loan this week.

Played for both: David Preece - Something of a bonafide legend at Luton Town after making 395 appearances between 1984-95, scoring 27 times to..

After leaving Hatters, went to Derby and then Cambridge, playing a further 75 times in five years.

Upon his death at just 44 from cancer in July 2007, the family stand at Kenilworth Road has since been named the David Preece Stand.

We’ve got form: Hatters have the upper hand, just, over Cambridge at Kenilworth Road with seven wins, six draws and four defeats in their 17 meetings, scoring 28 goals and conceding 16.

Luton began in magnificent style, thumping the U’s 9-1 in their first meeting, that an FA Cup quarter-final tie back in 1910, which started a six game unbeaten run.

However, Cambridge have improved over the years, with four wins from the last 11 visits, albeit one was an FA Trophy replay success against a fledgling Luton side in 2014.

Last time out: Luton enjoyed a 3-2 victory over Cambridge in their meeting at Kenilworth Road last season.

The Hatters raced into a 3-0 lead by the break as Andy Drury, Luke Wilkinson and Jonathan Smith were all on target.

However, the U’s improved in the second period, netting through Johnny Hunt and Robbie Simpson, but couldn’t force an equaliser.

Hatters: Mark Tyler, Michael Harriman, Scott Griffiths (Mark Cullen 74), Luke Wilkinson (Fraser Franks 42), Steve McNulty, Jake Howells, Jonathan Smith, Andy Drury, Nathan Doyle, Shaun Whalley (Alex Lawless 70), Jayden Stockley.

Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Luke Guttridge, Matt Robinson, Alex Wall.

Attendance: 10,054.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.