And the time has come, a time to see if Luton Town can put their name in the record books as the first non-league side to reach the last eight of the FA Cup since World War 2. A victory, at Carrow Road, in the last round saw Luton draw Millwall in this round evoking memories of the awful night back in 1985 when a cup tie involving the same two teams went into the infamy halls. Since beating Norwich all eyes have been on whether Luton can claim a third League scalp having already knocked Wolves out in the third round. Kenilworth Road will be packed to the rafters for the 12:45 kick-off, as will many bars around Luton as the team tries to make history. Can it be done? Let`s just enjoy the occasion and wait and see shall we!
The only Hatters player in the squad who was at Kenilworth Road when the clubs last met in the FA Cup is Dean Brill.
The keeper, now in his second spell at Kenilworth Road recalls how good the atmosphere was that day whilst also looking ahead to the clash, commenting,
‘This is what it used to be like.’
‘The last time Luton played Millwall, I was playing. It will be rocking, and it’s how I remember it.
‘The boys are looking forward to it, and it does give them a massive lift. It’s not going to be alien to all of them, but it does freshen memories and you can think: ‘This is where we want to be.’
It is and that`s why it is imperative we get back into the Football League instead of languishing in non-league football.
Luton Team News:
Paul Buckle will be forced to shuffle his squad for this one with four of his squad – Simon Ainge, Steve McNulty, Dave Martin and Scott Neilson – all cup tied.
However this does give Buckle the chance to include the likes of JJ O`Donnell, Matt Robinson and Greg Taylor, all of whom will be waiting to grab their chance.
Out suspended is Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, who is still serving the suspension picked up for the red card offence at Barrow but Alex Lawless, who was suspended for the trip to Dartfrod, in midweek, is available for selection.
Out injured for Luton are Danny Spiller and Gary Richards
Player to watch: Andre Gray
We`re hoping the England ‘C` international can get back to scoring form and help provide the competition with another cup upset.
Millwall Team News:
Kenny Jackett, he of Watford fame, brings his side to Bedfordshire, from South London, without two influential players with both Benik Afobe and Martyn Woolford being cup-tied.
As for replacements for the duo, it is being suggested that Andy Keogh may replace Afobe whilst Liam Feeney may step in for Woolford.
Player to watch: David Forde
The Millwall keeper had a loan spell at Kenilworth Road several years ago, let`s hope his doesn`t have one of those games where he`s lauded as the man-of-the-match!
Match Facts & Stats
Looking through the record books Luton and Millwall have met 5 times in the FA Cup. Unfortunately for us, Millwall have the edge in four of those encounters winning in 1903 (anyone there?), 1909 (same again?), 1978 and 1989.
Luton`s sole victory over Millwall came on that unforgettable night, and not for all the right reasons, in 1985 when a goal from Brian Stein sent us through to the semi-finals amidst scenes that shocked football.
With regard to encounters between the sides in all competitions, we`ve met 78 times with Luton winning 22, Millwall winning 31 and with 25 ending in draws.
Our referee for this encounter is Lee Probert.
Logic suggests that Millwall start as the clear favourites. Their championship class should tell. But, on two previous occasions already this season, this David (Luton) has already slain two Goliath`s (Wolves and Norwich) and I reckon, after a hard fought encounter, we could be making that three with a 1-0 win.
After the glamour of the FA Cup it`s back to the Conference and a trip to Macclesfield on Tuesday evening.