PREVIEW: Luton Town v Macclesfield Town
Macclesfield were one of the busiest clubs in the Blue Square Bet Premier on transfer deadline day yesterday, bringing in three new players, writes Mike Simmonds.
The deal that would have interested Town fans most was former striker Amari Morgan-Smith joining, a player who was extremely highly-rated at Kenilworth Road until injuries ruined successive campaigns.
Another player who some Luton fans wanted to see in their ranks was as ex-Derby, Rotherham and Crawley defender/midfielder Pablo Mills, who at 28-years old adds some vital experience to the Silkmen’s line up.
The other smart piece of business came by acquiring former Norwich, Swindon and Watford winger Anthony McNamee.
It was only a few years ago he was helping the Hornets win promotion from the Championship via the play-offs and making a host of Premier League appearances too.
The club were busy in the days leading up to the window as well, bringing in striker Chris Holroyd on loan from Preston North End until January.
There were some exits from Moss Rose as Junior Yiadom-Konadu has joined Harry Agombar on a month’s loan with Histon, while midfielder Scott Brown, a free transfer signing in the summer, has been released.
Macc boss Steve King has been overhauling the squad since taking over in the summer, bringing in three other players Luton fans will know well, striker Matthew Barnes-Homer, winger Charlie Henry and midfielder John Paul Kissock, the latter on loan until January.
Carl Martin, Rob Edmans and Kieran Charnock all signed up too, while Andre Da Costa and James Bolton joined Workington on loan, Carl Tremarco has moved to Maltese top flight club Floriana until the end of the season, with Ben Mills going to Chester.
Midfielder Colin Daniel left to join Mansfield Town for an undisclosed fee and striker Ben Tomlinson went to Alfreton Town as King radically changed a side that finished rock bottom of the Football League, with just 37 points from 46 games.
It was an unhappy season for the Silkmen as manager Gary Simpson left the club in March, while Brian Horton was brought in, but only lasted a month too, neither being able to stop the club suffering relegation.
They have started the campaign promisingly though, sitting second in the table with four wins from five games.
Macc lost their first game at fellow relegated side Hereford, but since then have defeated Wrexham, Dartford and Barrow at home, while winning at Lincoln too.
The Silkmen are a side that Town have never fared too well against either, with Hatters winning once, drawing twice and losing three of the six matches they have played.
Team news: Striker Jon Shaw misses three games after accepting a misconduct charge from the FA, while Ronnie Henry sits out the second game of his three-game ban.
Janos Kovacs is expected to be fit, while Town’s new loan signing Connor Essam from Gillingham comes into consideration too.
Hatters will be without Danny Spiller (achilles) and Garry Richards (ankle) for lengthy periods, while winger James Dance is still out too.
Macc will have all three of their new signings, Morgan-Smith, Mills and McNamee available, Ryan Jackson is expected to be available after his groin injury, but Kissock can’t feature against his parent club.
In charge: Steve King – has never played the game professionally, but became Lewes manager in 2003, taking the club from Isthmian League Division One South to the Conference before his contract wasn’t renewed in 2008.
Spells followed in charge of Northwich Victoria and Farnborough before he returned to Lewes, but was suspended by the south coast club in January 2012 before leaving by mutual consent.
Was appointed Macclesfield boss on May 2012.
View from the opposition: Boss Steve King - “We’ve made a good start but that’s all it is.
“It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s about where you end. We’d rather be at this end than the bottom end but it’s points in the bag, we want to get to 40 points as quick as we can and then go from there.”
One to watch: Chris Holroyd - striker who has agreed a loan deal with the Silkmen until January.
Made his name at Cambridge United, earning a move to Brighton & Hove Albion in the process, but a disappointing time with the Seagulls saw loan moves to Stevenage and Bury, before he was snapped up by Rotherham
Again, wasn’t prolific at the Millers, or his next club Preston, but definitely knows where the goal is and scored within a minute of coming on for his Silkmen debut against Lincoln City.
Top BSBP scorer: Hatters – Stuart Fleetwood (6). Silkmen – Matthew Barnes-Homer (4).
Friendly faces: Striker Matthew Barnes-Homer scored 23 goals in 81 appearances for Town after being signed by Richard Money from Kidderminster Harriers.
Finished top scorer in the 2010-11 season, but fell out with boss Gary Brabin and joined Rochdale on loan before spells at Nuneaton Town and Swedish side Ostersunds FC, until he was snapped up by Macclesfield in the summer and has scored four in five already this season.
Amari Morgan-Smith is the most recent to have joined Moss Rose. He moved to Luton from Ilkeston Town after the club ceased to exist and impressed immediately, scoring on his debut against Mansfield and netting a hat-trick in an FA Cup tie.
Scored 18 goals in 48 appearances and was leading scorer for long spells last season, despite barely featuring after another injury. Released by Buckle after the play-off final defeat to York and joined up with Macclesfield on deadline day.
Winger Charlie Henry joined Luton from Newport County, again under Money, but suffered an horror ligament injury to his foot, spending a year on the sidelines. Eventually returned, but only made seven appearances and was shipped out by Paul Buckle before joining Macclesfield on a free.
John Paul Kissock is also at Moss Rose now after joining on a loan deal until January. Affectionately dubbed Messi by the Kenilworth Road faithful, he has settled in well, making four appearances already this season.
Last time out: Town came out on top just about in their last home clash with Macclesfield as back in League Two on Saturday, March 29, Tom Craddock netted a 69th-minute penalty in a 1-0 victory.
It was the first time Luton had beaten Macclesfield at Kenilworth Road with the other two games ending 0-0 and a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
Hatters: Dean Brill, Lewis Emanuel (Sol Davis 86), George Pilkington, Asa Hall, Mark Bower, Michael Spillane, Kevin Nicholls, Keith Keane, Sam Parkin (Ian Henderson 60), Chris Martin, Tom Craddock.
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