Cobblers boss Wilder excited by the Kenilworth Road challenge

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder can’t wait to set his in-form team loose in the ‘hostile’ atmosphere of Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
Cobblers boss Chris WilderCobblers boss Chris Wilder
Cobblers boss Chris Wilder

Wilder is excited at the challenge that lays in wait against a Luton Town team full of quality players in front of an expected 10,000 crowd.

The Cobblers have sold out their 1,000-plus allocation for the away end, so a big-match atmosphere is guaranteed and Wilder can’t wait to get started.

“This is a great game for both teams,” said Wilder, who on Friday was named the Sky Bet League Two manager of the month for November.

“It’s a local derby with two teams that have ambitions of getting out of the division, and one of a number of games in the next six to eight weeks that are really tasty.

“Games that supporters, players and staff can really look forward to.

“Saturday is an exciting game, we will sell out the away end, so we will have fantastic backing yet again.

“Every time I have been to Luton, whether I have been there as a player or whether I have taken teams, it is a really positive environment to go and play your football.

“It is quite hostile at times, it is a proper old football ground, and the atmosphere is electric.

“I have been there a couple of times and been on the receiving end of tight games late on, so we know it is going to be a tough game.”

The Cobblers go into the Saturday’s game as favourites.

They are on a six-match winning streak and have lost just once in the league since late September, while Luton on the other hand have struggled for consistency.

They have won just once at home in the past two months and are in 14th place in league two, 14 points behind third-placed Cobblers.

But Wilder is wary of a squad that contains a lot of talented players, and he believes it is only a matter of time before they click into gear.

He’s juts hoping that won’t happen until after this weekend.

Asked why it is Luton haven’t yet clicked, Wilder said: “It can happen, they have Craig Mackail-Smith, Josh McQoid, Paddy McCourt.

“I watched them at the weekend (in the 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Peterborough United) and they have a lot of good players, and sometimes you are just looking for something to happen and something to drop for you.

“You need players to be healthy, they have missed Paul Benson through suspension for three games and he is a big player for them, so they are just looking for that settled side, that little bit of form or a slice of luck that might go their way and get their season up and running.

“That happens to every team.”

Centre forward Benson is set to return to the Hatters starting line-up after serving his three-match ban, while the Cobblers are likely to recall John-Joe O’Toole to the centre of midfield after he missed the FA Cup win over Northwich Victoria due to suspension.