On Saturday, Celtic face high-flying North Ferriby United (kick off 3pm). The Villagers are currently third in the table on fifty-seven points, twelve places and seventeen points ahead of Celtic, having played two games more. There will be a match centre for this game - weather permitting.
With three wins in their opening eleven matches, North Ferriby had a slow start to the season, though they did only lose one match in this period, their opening game away at Tamworth. They had seven consecutive draws. Since then, fortunes have improved, and they had been – week on week – catching up with league leaders Solihull and now sit just eight points behind them. They have slumped a little recently; their last six games have seen them have two draws and three losses in five games until their most recent game, a win away at Corby. Their position this season has been aided in part by having the second best attack in the league and having scored more goals than anybody else, with Tom Denton the second highest league scorer on fifteen goals and his strike partner Liam King also in the top ten league strikers with thirteen. Curtis Bateson isn’t far behind on ten. Additionally, they have the sixth best defence in the league, giving them the league’s second best goal-difference, just behind Solihull.
On average, they are scoring 2 goals per game (2.1 at home), and conceding 1.2 goals per game (0.6 at home). North Ferriby finish games strongly, with fifteen of their sixty-four goals scored right at the death, something that has won games and rescued points for them all season. Their weakest period is on the hour, when they have conceded ten of their thirty-seven goals. They have kept eleven clean sheets this season, mainly at home with nine, and failed to score just three times at home. Not quite half of their scored goals have come on the road, whereas two thirds of their conceded goals have come whilst away from Hull.
We have faced North Ferriby twice already this season: in the FA Cup. Thanks to a Bohan Dixon masterclass right at the death of the original tie at Bower Fold, Celtic earned a replay. This finished 0-0 at full time, and Russ Fry missed his penalty to send Celtic through. In the previous two seasons, Celtic had been unable to beat the Villagers, with North Ferriby winning three of the four meetings. Last season’s tie at Bower Fold finished 2-2, with Dominic Calvert Lewin getting both of Celtic’s goals.
North Ferriby have no suspension and appear to have a full squad to choose from. In their last match, the 4-1 away win over Corby, United lined up as:
1. Adam Nicklin
2. Ben Middleton
3. Josh Wilde
4. Liam King
5. Ash Palmer
6. Danny Hone
7. Nathan Hotte
8. Wayne Brooksby
9. Tom Denton
10. Adam Boulder
11. Curtis Bateson
Bohan Dixon has joined AFC Fylde but coming the other way is loan signing Charlie Joyce from Southport. Celtic have not played thanks to the weather for a fortnight, giving time for the squad to be fully fit and chomping to go. We should have a full squad to choose from, and in our last match, the astounding 5-5 home draw with Telford (the most goals scored in one game this season), Celtic lined up as:
1. Tony McMillan
2. Peter Wylie
3. Danny Wisdom
4. Matty Hughes
5. Jack Higgins
6. Aaron Chalmers
7. Bohan Dixon
8. Dale Wright
9. Chris Simm
10. Adam Farrell
11. Aidan Chippendale
Celtic are just four points ahead of the drop zone, and eighteen points behind the play-off spots. Us, Worcester and Bradford PA all have games in hand on those around us, but points on the board are more important than potential points. Three wins should see us reach the forty-five points mark which was our total last season. We are within three points of two of the teams above us, and two of the teams below us are within three points of us. A win could see us reach thirteenth, whilst a loss could leave us in eighteenth.
Other games on Saturday:
Brackley Town (pts th) v Bradford Park Avenue (pts th)
Chorley (pts th) v Boston United (pts th)
Curzon Ashton (pts th) v Worcester City (pts th)
FC United of Manchester (pts th) v AFC Fylde (pts th)
Gainsborough Trinity (pts th) v Nuneaton Town (pts th)
Harrogate Town (pts th) v AFC Telford (pts th)
Hednesford Town (pts th) v Alfreton Town (pts th)
Solihull Moors (pts th) v Lowestoft Town (pts th)
Stockport County (pts th) v Gloucester City (pts th)
Tamworth (pts th) v Corby Town (pts th)
Join the M60 heading towards Oldham and stay on the M60 to Junction 20.
At the roundabout, turn right (signposted for Leeds) and join the M62.
Stay on the M62 for 70 miles right to the very end where it becomes the A63.
Stay on the A63 for 7 miles to the junction with the B1231 (Ferriby and Melton).
Leave the A63 here.
At the first roundabout turn right, and at the immediate second roundabout turn left onto the B1231 (Melton Road).
After a mile, turn right onto Church Road (signposted for North Ferriby).
Take the second left after a third of a mile onto Grange Lane.
The ground is at the end.