FA CUP PREVIEW: Welling United v Luton Town

Welling United are hoping they can transfer their excellent home form in the Skrill Premier to the FA Cup this weekend, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th November 2013, 7:24 pm

On securing promotion from the Conference South last season, the Wings have made a hugely impressive start to the campaign and have already won as many games as Luton to sit just outside the play-off places.

That is in some part indebted to their record at Park View Road where they have won five, drawn three and lost one so far.

Jamie Day’s side put five past Forest Green Rovers, beat Grimsby, while picking up a creditable draw with Cambridge United too, meaning only Kidderminster have left with all three points in their pockets.

The fans believe too as some areas of the ground are already sold out and after edging past Western League Brislington in the last round 1-0, Welling have their sights set on at least equalling their best run in the FA Cup.

That came back in the 1988-89 season when they went down to a 1-0 home defeat against Blackburn Rovers in the third round.

Being pulled out of the hat first was definitely to Day’s liking too as speaking to local media ahead of a tie that will see the winners land £18,000, he said: “It’s a good draw, we’re at home, which is an advantage to us. Hopefully we can keep our home form going in the cup match.

“It will be a difficult game. They’re doing well this year, they’re third in the table, a big club that brings a lot of support as well, so we’re looking forward to the match.

“They did extremely well last year so they want to get as far as they possibly can because of the prize money in each round and getting somebody on television and get a big club.

“It’s a big game for both teams and one that both teams want to win.

“The draw is one that both teams will look at and say it’s winnable, so hopefully we can put in a good performance and get ourselves in round two.

“It should be a good game, a good atmosphere and one we’ve got to take advantage off.

“They’ve got a good manager (John Still) who knows this level and knows how to win games and they’ve had a cup run in the past.

“It’s going to be a real tough game for us and if we’re not at our best we will come unstuck and get beat and get knocked out.

“We know they’ve got some quality players and we know their strengths and weaknesses as they know ours.

“Hopefully we can put in a good performance and get the result.”

Wings squad members are benefiting from their fine form this season too, with central defender Fraser Franks called up to the England C squad along with Luton’s Andre Gray for their clash with Czech Republic later this month.

Team news: Welling are expected to be without former Leyton Orient midfielder Loick Pires for the clash with Luton.

The 23-year-old missed last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Lincoln after picking up injuries to his ankle and calf in training.

Influential striker Ross Lafayette came off the bench in the second half of Saturday’s win following a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, and could well be restored to the starting line-up this weekend.

Meanwhile, Luton are without Andre Gray, Alex Wall, Shaun Whalley, Jon Shaw and Danny Fitzimons to a variety of injuries, although Alex Lawless and Jim Stevenson are in the squad, while Anthony Charles is back in training.

Top Skrill Premier scorer - Wings: Ross Lafayette (6). Hatters: Luke Guttridge, Andre Gray (6).

Man in the middle: Ben Toner - referee has yet to take Luton in his short career so far.

Hasn’t been afraid to show his red card, with three dismissals so far from his nine Skrill Premier matches and 15 cautions too.

Didn’t make one sending off last year though in the 16 Conference matches he officiated, brandishing 36 yellows.

In charge: Jamie Day - 34-year-old, who is currently the player manager for Welling United.

Was at Arsenal as a trainee making the subs bench for the first team, before being sold to Bournemouth for £20,000.

From the Cherries, he had spells at Dover Athletic, Welling, Grays and Dartford before being announced as the boss of Welling in November 2009.

Guided the club to the Conference South title in 2013, promoting the club to the highest tier in non-league football.

View from the opposition: Wings player-boss Jamie Day: “It’s a massive cup competition in the world so we’ve got to try and stay in it for as long as we possibly can.

“We have to make sure we turn up on Saturday and do ourselves justice and get the result and get as far as we possibly can.”

Average home crowd: Welling: 812. Luton: 6,452.

One to watch: Ross Lafayette - latecomer to the game as he had spells with Wealdstone and Hemel Hempstead before moving to Welling at the start of last season.

Finished as the club’s top goalscorer in their promotion winning campaign and has adapted to life in the Skrill Premier easily enough too with six goals to his name, including the winner against Grimsby.

Last time out: Hatters have only ever played at Welling once in their history, that an FA Trophy first round clash back on December 14, 2010, with the crowd of 404, Luton’s lowest ever for a competitive match.

In a team contraining the likes of Craig Hinton, Taiwo Atieno and Jason Walker, Hatters trailed to Luis Cumber’s scrappy first half goal.

Then manager Richard Money brought on attacker Cauley Woodrow, now with Fulham in the second half, plus Newman Carney and Jordan Patrick, as Town hit back in the final 10 minutes.

First, Jason Walker scored with a low shot that was spilled into the net, before Alex Lawless crashed home the winner.

Hatters: Mark Tyler, JJ O’Donnell (Cauley Woodrow 68), Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Craig Hinton, Alex Lacey, Pavel Besta (Newman Carney 55), Dan Walker (Jordan Patrick 76), Godfrey Poku, Alex Lawless, Jason Walker, Taiwo Atieno.

Attendance: 404.

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