On Saturday Celtic travel to Fleetwood knowing that they can have an effect on the outcome of who will be the champions of the Conference North 2010. This Conference North clash kicks off at 3pm, there will be a Live Match Centre and there will be at least one coach. Fleetwood are currently second, one point behind Southport, waiting on the result of an appeal of the Farsley point expunging that would put them top, if successful. They are on eighty-two points, twenty-seven points and seven places above Celtic.
Fleetwood have been in the play-off spots or top all season, apart from a wobble back in October that saw the, drop to sixth. In the last ten games, they have lost two and drawn one, winning the other seven. Fleetwood have been beaten just once at home all season, by Northwich, but have had four draws, all early in the season, against Hyde, Gainsborough, Harrogate and Alfreton. Fleetwood have scored in every home game, except the 3-0 defeat by Northwich, and hold the record for the highest home win of this season, beating Redditch 8-0. They have the second best attack in the league, scoring eighty-four goals, at a rate of 2.2 a game, just four behind Southport, whilst they have the third best defence in the league, conceding forty-four goals all season, one less than Southport, but eight more than Workington. With eight wins on the trot between December and February, Fleetwood hold the record for the most number of consecutive wins.
Our last meeting with Fleetwood was on a Thursday night a few weeks ago, which Fleetwood won 3-2, with two last minute goals breaking Celtic hearts. Fleetwood have won both of their trips to Bower Fold, since coming into the Conference North last season. Celtic?s last trip to Fleetwood, however, sees Celtic?s last victory over them, when we won 2-1 there last season. Going further back, Celtic have won one other game at Fleetwood?s ground, back in 1991, whilst Fleetwood?s last win over us in a league game was in 1990, when they won 3-1.
In Adam Warlow, Fleetwood have the league?s second top scorer with twenty-six goals, just two behind Paul Brayson of Blyth. He is head and shoulders above his closest rival, Sean Clancy, who on eleven goals is some way behind. Warlow has scored one third of all of Fleetwood?s goals, and three quarters of those have been in the second half. Indeed, Fleetwood are a second half team, with the fifteen minutes after the hour mark, their most dangerous period, with twenty-seven goals scored in this period, though they have also scored ten in stoppage time. Conceding wise, they also concede more in the second half with only thirteen of their forty-four conceded goals coming in the first half. Their most vulnerable period is the twenty minute spell after the restart, where they have conceded seventeen. On average they score three goals per game at home (2.2 overall) and concede 1.1 goals per game. In their nineteen other opponents this season , they have taken six points off just seven of them, though they will be hoping to add Celtic to that list.
Fleetwood appear to be suspension free ahead of the match. In their last match, the 3-2 away win over Blyth, they lined up as:
1. Craig Dootson
2. Anthony Barry
3. Sam Williamson
4. Simon Grand
5. Steve McNulty
6. Nathan Pond
7. Sean Clancy
8. Jamie Mulligan
9. Lee Thorpe
10. Adam Warlow
11. Jamie Mullan
Jody Banim, Keith Briggs and Tim Ryan all missed the 2-1 defeat away at Northwich, and will have to be assessed ahead of the Fleetwood match. In that game, Celtic lined up as:
1. David Carnell
2. Graeme Law
3. Andrew Smart
4. Steve Woods
5. Joel Bembo-Leta
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Conner Jennings
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Joe ONeill
10. Michael Carr
11. Matty Barlow
Celtic have lost their last five away matches, and the automated prediction algorithm, is suggesting a 3-2 win for Fleetwood on Saturday, which would mean that Southport will need a draw or better away at Eastwood to win the league (appeal not withstanding). This will be Matty Barlow?s final game for the club.
Other games on Saturday (Celtic are on 55pts and 9th)
Alfreton Town (71pts 3rd) v Hinckley United (62pts 6th)
Droylsden (61pts 7th) v Redditch United (38pts 19th)
Eastwood Town (54pts 10th) v Southport (83pts 1st)
Gainsborough Trinity (44pts 14th) v Blyth Spartans (48pts 14th)
Gloucester City (42pts 17th) v Ilkeston Town (58pts 8th)
Harrogate Town (27pts 21st) v Northwich Victoria (48pts 12th)
Hyde United (44pts 15th) v Solihull Moors (41pts 18th)
Vauxhall Motors (32pts 20th) v AFC Telford (51pts 11th)
Workington (69pts 4th) v Stafford Rangers (43pts 16th)
Both Hinckley and Droylsden will be hoping to win to overtake Corby and each other, and whilst Droylsden are facing Redditch, a game they should win, Hinckley are facing Alfreton, who will not roll over, despite being safely in the play-offs, as they will be eying Workington, who could finish third. At the other end of the table, there is little to play for, with Vauxhall and Harrogate just too far away from the safety of 19th.