Thursday Oct 17, 2013
TAMWORTH v LUTON TOWN
preview by NICK HUDSON
IT'S 30 years now since Yugoslavian substitute Raddy AntiÃ¦'s late goal saved Luton's
First Division status and prompted the most extravagant managerial celebration
in modern footballing history.
David Pleat, who went from boss of neighbours Nuneaton to pushing Spurs into
third spot in soccer's top flight, will always be remembered for his touchline
dance when his side conjured an unlikely win at Manchester City's
Maine Road on the final match of the 1982-83 season to save them from what looked like
Don't expect any similar wild antics from the Hatters current boss John Still on Saturday but one thing's for sure - the passion and dedication of Luton Town's fans remains undiminished over those three decades.
And Tamworth's own supporters face being outnumbered at the weekend in what is certain to be the Lambs' biggest gate of the season to date.
"Based on early season attendances - they will have more fans in the ground than us," said Lambs general manager Rod Hadley.
He added: "So come on all the fans who went to Everton, come on down and support your town team. There can be no
excuses as both Villa and Blues are not playing until Sunday."
The Lamb ground is set for between a 1,700 and 2,000 gate for the Saturday clash with Luton - sitting pretty in third place in the Skrill Premier.And the Cross Street entrance will not be open to home fans for the game as this area will be reserved for Luton supporters with between 800 and 1,000 anticipated.Saturday's home game is the first of three on the bounce with an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Solihull Moors on Saturday, October 26 and another Conference home fixture against Braintree
Town the following weekend.
If Tamworth beat Solihull and get another home draw in the FA Cup 1st Round Proper - then it will be five Saturdays on the
trot with a midweek game at the Lamb against Alfreton.
Tamworth face injury worries for the Luton Town clash (kick off 3pm) with former Gills right back Jack Evans looking at three months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage sustained in the side's 2-0 defeat at Welling Town last Saturday.
Evans, who was stretchered off during the game, joins central defender Jordan
Rose (also with knee problems) and Wayne Thomas on the sidelines.
The much heralded return of striker Justin Richards - pencilled in for this
Saturday - is now looking less likely. He's back in training but doubtful for
the Luton match.
Manager Dale Bedford has sympathies with Jack Evans. "It's a real blow for
him and us. I feel sorry for the kid as he's grown in stature with every game
he's been with us."
Key to Tamworth producing the goods against Luton
on Saturday is skipper Duane Courtney's contribution. And it could have all so different for Courtney as he was a summer transfer
target for the Hatters.
"It is flattering to think that Luton were interested in signing me," said Courtney.
"They are a huge club. I see them as a League club. "But I decided to stay at Tamworth and
have no regrets. "I guess there's an extra incentive to do well this weekend though but I think
all the lads will be up for it.
"We should all love playing in games like this. There will be a big away
following which adds to the atmosphere on the day.
Courtney's enjoying his switch to central defence caused by the injury to former
Stoke defender Wayne Thomas. "It's taken me a few games to get back into
the role but I am getting there," he said.
"It's been good working alongside Ben Richards-Everton," he added.
"He's a young lad but he wants to learn and he listens to advice. I think
we will develop a good understanding as we play more games."