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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Luton and Barnet can both find the net

Martin Allen returns for fifth spell with the Bees

Luton have had plenty to smile about this season
1 of 1

Sky Bet League Two
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 5.15pm Saturday

Martin Allen has returned to Sky Bet League Two basement boys Barnet for a fifth spell as manager and will need to use all his motivational talent in his attempt to upset the odds in a tough fixture at highflying Luton.

Barnet make the short trip to Kenilworth Road in a desperate situation, seven points adrift of safety with eight games remaining.

A shade under 16 months have passed since Allen left the Bees to take up an offer from ambitious National League side Eastleigh in December 2016.

It was a crucial moment for Barnet, who were then playoff contenders as they have never properly recovered. It was also a mistake by Allen, who lasted just 14 games at Eastleigh.

Over the years Barnet and Allen have generally been good for each other and it wouldn't be a major surprise if performances and results improve.

Starting at Luton is far from ideal but Allen loves a challenge and he is likely get more out of an underperforming group of players, many of whom he is familiar with.

One of Allen's top priorities will have been to talk to star striker John Akinde and find out what has happened to the player who finished joint-top of the League Two scoring charts with 26 goals last season.

Akinde has notched four goals in 24 league appearances under three different managers this season and it wouldn't be a major surprise if he responds well to the return of his former manager.

Luton have to be careful because they are on a five-match winless sequence and could face a tough encounter if Allen puts some fire in Barnet's bellies.

But the Hatters are the top scorers in the division with 79 goals and should be confident of troubling a team who have managed just one clean sheet in 23 away games this season.

Barnet's sloppy defending is unlikely to be transformed overnight.

But they are likely to play with more intent and purpose and possess enough decent attacking players - Shaquile Coulthirst is another with untapped potential - to contribute to an entertaining game which may deliver goals at both ends.

Both teams to score
1pt 19-20 Coral, Ladbrokes

Sky Bet League Two standings

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Team news
Ipswich loanee Flynn Downes is away with the England Under-19s and Luke Gambin is with the Malta national team.

Jordan Nicholson and Simeon Akinola have been dropped from the squad and Matthew Briggs has had his contract cancelled. Mauro Vilhete has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Michael Nelson has had his role changed from assistant coach to player coach and could be involved.

Key stat
Luton have not kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches.

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Luton have not kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches
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