On Saturday, Celtic travel across to Fylde for our league clash (kick off 3pm). AFC Fylde are currently top of the league and hotly tipped for automatic promotion. They are currently nineteen places and twenty-eight points above Celtic. There will be a match centre for this game.
Fylde went fifteen games unbeaten until last Saturday when they finally lost away at Tamworth 1-0. They started the season seeing off Telford, Altrincham and Alfreton all away, but an elusive home win was not forthcoming until a 3-2 win over Halifax at the end of August, after both Brackley and Salford held them to draws. Although they are unbeaten at home this season, they have had three draws in their eight home matches, the third being a 2-2 draw with Gloucester.
Apart from the last match, Fylde have scored in every match this season, with an average of 2.8 goals per game (2.5 at home), whilst they have also conceded in every home match this season at an average of 1.5 goals per game, with their only two clean sheets coming on the road at Altrincham and Telford, meaning they have conceded in their last thirteen matches, a record only broken by bottom of the table club, Bradford. Fylde do have the longest winning streak, of four on the bounce, and the highest away win (6-0 at Altrincham). What has put them top is the scoring record, scoring 44 goals, making them the hottest strike force in the league.
Their top scorer is head and shoulders above the rest, Danny Rowe with twenty, putting him way out in front in the overall league top scorers, with Tom Denton in second place on twelve. James Hardy is behind Rowe at Fylde, with six.
This is Fylde’s third season in the Conference North, and though we have never lost to them at Bower Fold, drawing the last match 1-1 in April 2016 and winning the first 3-0 in August 2014, we have never scored against them in Fylde. They have beaten us 3-0 in December 2014 and 5-0 in October 2015.
Defender Steve Williams is set for a return after a long term injury. There will be a familiar face playing for Fylde at the weekend in former Celt, Bohan Dixon. In their last match, the 1-0 away defeat to Tamworth, Fylde lined up as:
1. Rhys Taylor
2. Casper Hughes
3. Danny Holmes
4. Josh Langley
5. Tom Kennedy
6. Andy Bond
7. Sam Finley
8. Bohan Dixon
9. Dan Bradley
10. James Hardy
11. Danny Rowe
Liam Dickinson will be available for selection in this match, after being ineligible for the last two. Also available will be new signings Josh Heaton, Josh Hine, Adam Morning and Scott Spencer. Celtic’s last match was the 7-3 home win over Cammell Laird in the Cheshire Senior Cup. Our last league match was the 1-0 away win over Bradford. In the Bradford match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Grant Shenton
2. Danny Morton
3. Adam Mather
4. Matty Hughes
5. Danny Wisdom
6. Darren McKnight
7. Brian Summerskill
8. Gary Gee
9. Andy Owens
10. Josh Hine
11. Aidan Chippendale
On paper, Celtic aren’t expected to get anything from this game, but the team are now starting to gel, and we could provide a surprise first home defeat on the hosts. There is something of a selection headache for Philips and Halford for this match, with Spencer, Dickinson and Owens all looking for the number 9 shirt. Hine and Wilkins will be vying for the number 10 shirt, and Adam Morning will be putting Aidan Chippendale under pressure for his place.
A win for Celtic wouldn’t lift us out of the bottom three, but with Curzon not playing, it would leave us only one win away from them. A loss could allow Bradford to leap frog us, putting Altrincham bottom – who are also not playing.
There is a reduced fixture list on Saturday with various teams in the FA Cup. Other matches:
AFC Telford (18pts 14th) v Boston United (17pts 17th)
Chorley (31pts 4th) v Nuneaton Town (15pts 18th)
FC United of Manchester (17pts 15th) v Bradford Park Avenue (7pts 22nd)
Salford City (26pts 9th) v Harrogate Town (27pts 8th)
Stockport County (24pts 11th) v Gainsborough Trinity (19pts 13th)
Tamworth (26pts 10th) v Darlington (36pts 2nd)
Take the M60 to Junction 15 (M61) and join the M61.
Stay on the M61 for 20 miles to the M6 and merge onto the M6.
Stay on the M6 for 6 miles to the M55 and join the M55.
Stay on the M55 for 8 miles to junction 3 (A585) and leave here.
At the roundabout at the end of the slip road, turn left (exit 1 of 4) onto the A585 towards Kirkham.
The ground is on the right after a mile.