PREVIEW: Luton Town v Yeovil Town
Like Luton, Yeovil have enjoyed the perfect start to the new season, putting back-to-back wins on the board.
The Glovers began with a fine 2-0 victory over Notts County at Huish Park on opening day and then followed that up by defeating League One Walsall 2-0 in the EFL Cup in extra time on Tuesday night, including a stunning goal from his own half by Matty Dolan to set up a potentially lucrative tie at Premier League side Everton.
Boss Darren Way is really starting to put his imprint on the club now too, after a season of struggle had looked on the cards last year, until he was appointed in December.
Although finishing just three places above the drop zone, they were well clear of danger, some 14 points in the end, thanks to a run of 12 wins, 12 draws and just eight defeats under the new boss.
During the close season, Way, like most, was a busy man, with a host of new signings.
Former Hatter Alex Lawless was probably the stand out addition, while Way also brought in Southampton’s Bevis Mugabi and agreed six-month loan deals for Bournemouth’s Matt Butcher and West Brom’s Tahvon Campbell.
Leicester City goalkeeper Jonny Maddison penned a one-year contract, while Wales U21 international Ryan Hedges has arrived from Swansea City on a six-month loan until January 2017.
Midfielder Joe Lea and defender Josh Ezewele penned one-year contracts ahead of the 2016-17 season, as Way also enticed the likes of striker Tom Eaves (Bolton), midfielder Otis Khan (Barnsely) and defender Liam Shephard (Swansea) to join too.
Inevitably there were some departures, Ryan Bird heading to Eastleigh for an undisclosed fee, Ben Tozer opting to join Newport County on a one-year deal, while Jakub Sokolik headed to Southend United too.
Team news: Hatters will have defender Dan Potts available after his one game suspension for the match with Aston Villa.
Alan Sheehan (calf) remains unlikely to feature, while Danny Green and Craig Mackail-Smith are both still out.
For Yeovil, there are doubts over Josh Ezewele (knee), Liam Shephard (Achilles), Nathan Smith (foot), Darren Ward (knee) and Francois Zoko (hip flexor), although Shephard and Smith could feature.
Man in the middle: Nicholas Kinseley - Taken one game this season, showing four yellows and sending off Andre Blackman as Crawley beat Wycombe last weekend.
Had two Luton games last year, the 2-1 FA Cup win at Crawley, plus the 2-1 Football League Trophy triumph against Leyton Orient, sending off striker Jack Marriott for gesturing to the away fans.
Kinseley has officiated eight more Hatters matches during their Conference years, including the 6-0 win over Kidderminster and 5-0 thumping of Kettering, plus a 4-3 victory over Halifax too.
Also had the whistle for four draws too, sending off Alex Lawless against Forest Green Rovers in February 2013, plus a 3-1 defeat to Woking.
Assistant referees are Mark Derrien and Thomas Harty, with the fourth official Nigel Smith.
In charge: Darren Way, 36-year-old, who began his career at Norwich City, but failed to make a first team appearance and on his release, signed for Yeovil in the Conference.
Was a firm fans favourite at Huish Park, leaving in January 2006, to sign for Swansea City for a fee of £150,000, before returning to the Glovers in 2008, before signing permanently once more, as he retired in 2010, he became the club’s new first team coach.
Spent five years in the role, briefly acting as assistant manager, until Way was appointed interim manager following the sacking of Paul Sturrock, in December 2015.
After impressing during those first matches, he was officially appointed as Yeovil’s manager on December 31.
View from the opposition: Darren Way, speaking to Somerset Live, said: “We are going up against a good team in Luton and we have to keep that momentum going. They look very strong at the moment.
“He (Nathan Jones) has got them playing very well. He’s got a team that a full of energy and get up and down the pitch well.
“They have got good individual ability. The boy (Jack) Marriott stretches the play really well and covers a lot of distance. McGeehan covers a lot of distance. When you have got good players, with ability and are fit, that is the recipe for success.
“It’s important we focus on out performance and so far we have not gone away from that.
“We will go with no fear. We haven’t since I have taken over as manager and I don’t expect Saturday to be any different.”
One to watch: Tom Eaves - 24-year-old striker who joined Yeovil in the summer after leaving Bolton Wanderers.
Spent six years with the Trotters, after joining from Oldham Athletic, with loans spells at Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury, Rotherham, Yeovil and had time with Bury last season, where he scored once in nine game for the Shakers.
Friendly faces: Hatters boss Nathan Jones moved to Yeovil in 2005 after leaving Brighton and spent seven years with the club, playing over 200 games, including captaining the team at Wembley for the League One play-off final.
Became a first team coach with the club’s Ladies team, before promoted to player assistant manager alongside Terry Skiverton and switching to first-team coach when Gary Johnson took over, leaving in June 2012 to join Charlton as U21 boss.
Midfielder Alex Lawless, 31, spent almost six years at Kenilworth Road after joining from York City in November 2010, racking up 203 appearances and scoring a number of crucial goals in his tally of 22, including the winner over Wolves in the FA Cup before he wasn’t offered a new contract in the summer.
Signed a one year deal at Huish Park and has made two appearances so far.
Defender Alex Lacey came through the ranks at Luton, playing 51 times, scoring once, before he joined Yeovil in the summer of 2015 and has played 27 times so far, including both games this season.
Striker Francois Zoko also had a trial at Luton when John Still was in charge, but moved to Yeovil and has scored eight in 29 games so far.
Played for both: Jake Howells - 25-year-old who spent time at Yeovil on loan from Luton last season, making seven appearances during his time with the club.
Returned to Luton to feature under new boss Nathan Jones, before being released in the summer after playing 334 times and signed for Eastleigh, where he has started both of their National League matches so far.
We’ve got form: Luton have only played Yeovil three times at Kenilworth Road in their history, winning two and drawing one.
Prior to last season’s 1-1 draw, Hatters triumphed 1-0 during a League One clash in 2008, with Calvin Andrew on target, while goals from Kevin Foley, Tony Thorpe, Courtney Pitt and Steve Howard settled a League Cup tie 4-1 in the hosts favour in August 2003.
Last time out: Hatters were held to a 1-1 draw by the Glovers at Kenilworth Road last season.
The visitors were in front on 70 minutes through Liam Walsh, before Alan Sheehan levelled in stunning fashion, with a wonderful angled volley into the top corner with just six minutes to go.
Hatters: Elliot Justham, Stephen O’Donnell, Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan, Jake Howells, Olly Lee, Alex Lawless, Cameron McGeehan, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Paddy McCourt 85), Jake Howells, Craig Mackail-Smith (Jack Marriott 78), Joe Pigott (Paul Benson 89).
Subs not used: Mark Tyler, Magnus Okuonghae, Jonathan Smith, Zane Banton.
Referee: Nigel Miller.