Tranmere Rovers are starting to show their first shoots of recovery under the experienced leadership of Micky Adams.
The former Port Vale, Brighton and Leicester City chief was appointed on October 16, with Tranmere having sacked Rob Edwards three days earlier.
Edwards had only taken over in May, after the club were already relegated to League Two.
He didn’t have the worst start in the world to his Rovers stint, winning two, drawing one and losing two of his opening five league games.
However, after a 2-1 win over Morecambe on August 30, Rovers then lost five and drew two of the next seven League Two outings, costing Edwards his job.
Adams’ appointment hasn’t heralded a league success yet as he watched from the stands as they lost at Oxford, but since heading to the dug out, Tranmere haven’t been beaten with three successive draws.
They are displaying some much needed character too, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Stevenage last time out, although that stretched their winless run in League Two to 11 matches.
Adams knew just what a tough challenge he was taking on though as he said: “Whatever has happened in the past should be put aside, as we look forward to a bright future for Tranmere Rovers.
“There are things that need addressing immediately, so that’s what we need to do.
“Each league presents its problems and difficulties. I’ve had decent success at this level. It’s not about managers, it’s about players.
“There are players who performed well under the last manager. Those who are not playing so well, I will be asking them to bring something to the party.
“I want them to show they’re worthy of wearing the Tranmere shirt.”
Rovers chairman, former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios believed that appointing an experienced man was key in the club’s decision, adding: “In our present position at the bottom of the League, we don’t have the luxury of the time to allow a new manager to learn his trade.
“Micky has an impressive win ratio, which he has sustained over a long career and often in circumstances where he has had to operate in difficult situations or with limited budgets.
“His success is no flash in the pan.”
Tranmere’s cup form is another matter though as they reached the second round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers last weekend and also progressed in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night, with a surprise 2-1 triumph at Bury.
Adams has already made changes to the playing squad in under a month of being in charge, bringing in Chesterfield striker Armand Gnanduillet, who announced his arrival with two goals in the 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon, plus Colchester United defender and Port Vale midfielder Steve Jennings.
The boss is changing things around off the pitch too as former player Chris Shuker joined the coaching staff, while assistant manager Matt Gill and head of scouting Alex Hay have both left.
Team news: Hatters will be without Ross Lafayette once more, while Alex Lawless, Alex Wall and Paul Connolly are all not expected to feature.
Midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is fit enough to return though, as is defender Scott Griffiths.
For Rovers, defender Janoi Donacien is set to return to the squad after missing the midweek win at Bury due to a foot injury.
Armand Gnanduillet is back after he was cup-tied, but Danny Woodards, Jason Koumas, Eliot Richards and Cole Stockton are all absent.
Goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams misses out as he is on international duty with Wales, while striker George Donnelly is banned after a red card in the FA Cup.
Top scorers: Hatters: Mark Cullen (8). Rovers: Max Power (4).
Average League Two crowds: Hatters: 8,596. Tranmere: 4,840.
Milestones: Should he play, Jake Howells will move up to 23rd on his own in the most appearances list for Hatters. Howells is currently on 288 games, the same as Tom ‘Bud’ Aherne.
Man in the middle: Lee Collins - has taken 10 games from the Championship to League Two so far this season, showing 30 yellows and one red, although 10 of those bookings came in the game between Portsmouth and Newport County.
Last season he officiated 28 games, brandishing 60 yellows and three reds, while this will be his first trip to Kenilworth Road.
The referee’s assistants will be Dumitru-Ravel Cheosiaua and Geoffrey Russell with Neil Hair the fourth official.
In charge: Micky Adams - 53-year-old who had a long playing career with likes of Gillingham, Coventry, Leeds, Southampton, Stoke, Fulham, Swanea and Brentford, making over over 400 appearances.
Appointed as Fulham’s player-manager in March 1996, but despite winning promotion from the Third Division was sacked for Kevin Keegan, while he then went to Swansea, leaving after just 13 days.
Had spells in charge of Brentford and Nottingham Forest, until moving to Brighton in April 1999, leading the club to the Third Division title in 2000-01.
Joined Leicester City as assistant boss in October 2001, before taking the top job, and won promotion to the Premier League, before resigning in October 2004 after they were relegated back to the Championship.
Took charge at former club Coventry City in January 2005, though lost his job in January 2007 after failing to take the club out of the Championship.
Returned to Brighton in May 2008 for nine months, and then headed to Port Vale in June 2009, before moving to boyhood club Sheffield United in December 2010.
Was sacked in May 2011 after suffering relegation to League One and went back to Port Vale.
Resigned in September though and was appointed Tranmere boss last month.
View from the opposition: Micky Adams speaking to the Liverpool Echo: “We know we have got a really important game coming up on Saturday against one of the division’s front runners. That’s as difficult as it gets.
“But if we show the same kind of effort, commitment and desire and the workrate we have shown, that will take us a long way.
“I’m not saying we’re going to beat Luton. But if we work as hard as we can we are going to win more games than we lose. I’m certain of that.”
One to watch: Max Power - picked out by Hatters boss John Still as Rovers’ main threat, the 21-year-old midfielder, who has been with the club since he was eight, made his debut in the 2011-12 season.
Named Young Player of the Season last season and is the club’s top scorer this term so far, with four goals to his name.
Friendly faces: Tranmere striker George Donnelly, spent a month on loan at Luton in the 2009-10 season, where he made four sub appearances in the Blue Square Bet Premier against Kettering, Crawley, Oxford and Wrexham without scoring.
Had spells at Stockport, Fleetwood, Macclesfield and Rochdale, before moving to Rovers in the summer, and has played 11 times this season, although is yet to find the net.
We’ve got form: Hatters have a fine record at home to Tranmere, with nine wins, three draws and just two defeats from their 14 meetings, scoring 25 goals and conceding just 11.
Town’s biggest win was 3-0 in their very first encounter, an old Division Two fixture back in 1939 when George Stephenson, Hugh Billington and Frederick Roberts netted.
Hatters’ last defeat was an FA Cup tie in January 2004 when Micky Mellon scored a late winner, but Luton have gone over 20 years without a league reverse, a run spanning six games, as John Aldridge’s strike settled the Division One clash.
Last time out: Luton were 1-0 winners over Tranmere in their last meeting at Kenilworth Road, as David Edwards’ 70th minute strike settled their League One contest in December 2007.
Hatters: Dean Brill, Alan Goodall, Chris Perry, Jaroslaw Fojut, David Bell, David Edwards, Matthew Spring, Steve Robinson, Paul Furlong (Calvin Andrew 17), Darren Currie (Drew Talbot 67).
Subs not used: Anthony Grant, Keith Keane, Paul McVeigh.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.