Preview: Wycombe v Luton Town
Wycombe Wanderers face Luton Town at Adams Park on Saturday in a League Two fixture.
The Hatters started the season knowing they had a mountain to climb in order to avoid dropping out of the Football League altogether. Faced with an unprecedented 30 point deduction before they even kicked their first ball, Luton were every bookmaker's favourite for the drop.
They've managed to collect 23 points so far this season, but remain bottom of the league table with minus 7 points. Were it not for the points deduction imposed on the club, they would be lying in 14th place.
Draws aren't much use to Luton if they want to catch the other sides near the foot of the table and by all accounts they have recently adopted an all-out attacking style of play which reflects the reality of their situation. In their last two games the Hatters have scored 6 goals, drawing 3-3 with Bournemouth and winning 3-1 against Barnet.
Luton have scored 24 league goals (8 away from home) and have conceded 28 (12 away from home).
13 different players have scored for the Hatters this season in all competitions and the leading marksmen are Asa Hall and Chris Martin with 4 goals each.
The Hatters currently have strikers Kevin Gallen and Tom Craddock on loan. Craddock arrived from Middlesbrough and made an immediate impact with 3 goals in 4 appearances before picking up a groin injury. It's not clear if he will play any part on Saturday. Another player to watch out for is the in-form Paul McVeigh who also has 3 goals to his name.
Wycombe finally lost their unbeaten league record last Saturday losing 3-2 at Aldershot Town. Having also lost on the previous Saturday to Eastwood Town in the FA Cup, the Blues aren't looking quite as invincible as they did earlier in the season. Until recently, scoring once against Wycombe was considered an achievement by opposition teams. However, within the last 3 weeks Port Vale and Eastwood Town have breached the Blues defence twice, while Aldershot managed to do so three times last week.
The Chairboys remain top of the table with 40 points from 19 games and enjoy a 6 point lead over their nearest rivals.
They have scored 28 league goals (17 at home) and have conceded 11 (6 at home).
12 different players have scored for Wycombe in all competitions this season. The top scorer is Matt Harrold with 7, while Chris Zebroski is just a single goal behind with 6 to his name. Angelo Balanta is currently the man in form, having scored in each of the last two games.
Current League Form
Last Five League Games
Wycombe: WWWWL - 12 points
Luton.......: WLLDW - 7 points
Last Five Home Games
Wycombe : WDWWW - 13 points
Last Five Away Games
Luton : DDWLL - 5 points
History shows that Wycombe have an atrocious record against Luton having only beaten them once in 15 games. That sole victory came at Kenilworth Road in January 2001 with Andy Rammell scoring twice as the Blues ran out 2-1 winners.
Previous meetings at Adams Park
1996/97: Wycombe 0 Luton 1
1997/98: Wycombe 2 Luton 2
1998/99: Wycombe 0 Luton 1
1999/00: Wycombe 0 Luton 1
2000/01: Wycombe 1 Luton 1
2002/03: Wycombe 1 Luton 2
2003/04: Wycombe 0 Luton 0
2004/05: Wycombe 0 Luton 3
This week's referee is Steve Tanner who has taken charge of 7 Premier League games so far this season. His most recent appointment was last Saturday's game between Hull and Middlesbrough in which he showed 2 yellow cards and also sent one player off. He last took charge of a Wycombe game in August 2006 when Jermaine Easter scored a second-half hat trick in a 3-0 win over Bury at Adams Park.
Chris Zebroski is doubtful with a gashed ankle.
With the team suffering their first League defeat of the season at Aldershot last Saturday and facing a tough trip to Shrewsbury Town next week, this is an important game for Wycombe to win. A large Luton following is expected at Adams Park on Saturday and they will be expecting their team to go for all three points in their struggle for league survival. Teams that have taken the game to Wycombe have had some success in recent weeks and it's likely that the Chairboys will have to score more than one goal to win this game.
Wycombe 2 Luton 2