Match Preview: Luton Town vs West Ham United U23s: Checkatrade Trophy Round Two

West Ham United u23

In the Round of 32 of the 2017/2018 Checkatrade Trophy campaign, Terry Westley takes his U23 side North to face off with Luton Town for their first ever Knockout tie in The Competition after Qualifying from Southern Group C in second place.

Nathan Jones’ hosts go into the exciting clash off the back of an emphatic 0-5 victory away at Non-League Gateshead in The FA Cup Second Round, whereas, the young Hammers are low on confidence after a fourth consecutive loss at Adams Park last week, making the home side the favourites.

When?

The encounter will take place tonight (Tuesday 5 December 2017) with a kick-off time of 7:45 PM GMT and no Live Television Coverage available for viewing in The United Kingdom.

However, if you are in the Bedfordshire region this evening, you can catch Live Radio Commentary on BBC Three Counties Radio Sport, alternatively, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, action and reaction from 6:30 PM, from the affair.

Where?

The visit of our starlets will be hosted at Luton Town’s home Ground of Kenilworth Road, originally opened in 1905, it has a capacity of just over 10,000 and has been the home of The Hatters since breaking ground.

The Stadium is famous for a ban imposed on away supporters in the 1980s excluding away fans from entering it after a Millwall riot and also hosting many an England Women clash, although the club are expected to move to a more modern arena in the near future.

Team News:

Town Boss Jones confirmed speaking ahead of the game that he will continue to be without key first-teamers Harry Cornick and James Collins as they miss out with injury knocks.

One man who will be featuring, however, is former Hammers left-back and November League Two Player of the Month nominee Dan Potts, who will be looking to do damage against his former club, so too will other former Claret & Blue stars Elliot Lee, Ollie Lee, Pelly Ruddock and Marek Stech.

Meanwhile, Westley welcomed back long-term absentee Marcus Browne to The Squad last Tuesday and he could be in line to start, while Nathan Holland (hamstring) and Noha Sylvestre (ankle) will play no part for some time.

He is also expected to be without Captain Declan Rice, midfield Domingos Quina and forward Antonio Martinez, currently on first-team duty, while keeper Nathan Trott and promising defender Ben Johnson also featured in David Moyes’ Squad at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Form:

The first-team of Luton Town and Development Squad of West Ham United have never met before in Competition, after selected Premier League and Championship U23 teams were only permitted entry to The Football League Trophy from the state of last season.

However, the Senior side do have a considerable amount of history with the Bedfordshire team, meeting 90 times since the year 1900 in various different Competitions.

Out of that staggering number of clashes, The Hatters have been victorious on 32 occasions, there have been 25 draws and The Hammers have claimed 33 wins, making things fairly even.

But, the last encounter between the two outfits came in the 1994 FA Cup, a Quarter-Final Replay at Kenilworth Road in which the hosts triumphed 3-2, despite a goal apiece for Martin Allen and Ian Bishop.

The Opposition:

Luton Town Football Club was originally formed 132 years ago and has endured a rocky existence ever since then, falling from the very top to the bottom on numerous occasions.

The Hatters’ most successful period came in the late 1980s when they reached three Cup Finals in the space of two seasons, although only winning one of them The 1988 League Cup, beating Arsenal in The Final.

However, more recently, they are off the back of a very dark period indeed, spending five seasons out of The Football League, being Relegated from League Two in 2009 despite winning this competition, amid a financial crisis.

But, under young Welsh Boss Nathan Jones, Luton are on the up once again, sitting at the very top of The League Two table tied with Kevin Nolan’s Notts County and destined for Promotion to the promised lands of League One.

Who Is Officiating?

Experienced English Football League Referee Darren Drysdale will be the man in the middle this evening, with Kevin Howick and Leigh Crowhurst taking up the roles of his Assistants and Ben Cooke as Fourth Official.

So, now that the Bedfordshire scene has been well and truly set for an exciting night of Knockout action in Luton, can The Hatters take another step towards lifting The Checkatrade Trophy for the second time?

Or, will Westley make a winning return to the club that he Managed in 1995 by guiding his starts to the Last 16? Think you know? Head over to @MooreThanAClub to cast your last-minute score predictions and join the pre-match debate.