Match Preview :- Stockport County - Saturday February 4th, 2017 (15:00:00)

On Saturday, Celtic make the short trip round the M60 to Stockport County (kick off 3pm). Stockport are currently in the play-offs in fifth on forty-seven points, sixteen places and thirty-two points ahead of Celtic. There will be a match centre and Twitter feed for this game.

Stockport have been around the top ten all season, but nine games unbeaten have been enough to push them into the play-off spots. They have had five wins and four draws in this period, with their last loss a 2-1 reversal at home to Bradford back in November. They have won all their away games in this period, but their last five home games two wins, two draws and a loss, with them only beating Altrincham and Gainsborough. Out of their six losses this season, four of them have come at home.

Their top scorer is Danny Lloyd, whose twelve goals put him head and shoulders above the rest of the sixteen goal-scorers, with the next highest being four players on three goals each, including former Celt Jimmy Ball. Their forty-one goals (twenty-one at home) have come at a rate of 1.6 goals at home (1.5 overall) whilst they have conceded thirty goals (nineteen at home), at a rate of 1.5 goals at home (1.1 overall). County have kept ten clean sheets (three at home) and failed to score just once at home (a 1-0 loss to Kidderminster Harriers).

We played Stockport at the start of this season, when we lost 3-1, with Jimmy Ball the scorer for Celtic. The game will be remembered for the third Stockport goal scored whilst Aaron Chalmers was unconscious with a head injury. Last season's game at Edgeley Park also had controversy, with Celtic's 3-0 win away seeing Glen Rule bite Matty Hughes. In three league visits, that was our only win there, with the visit the season before seeing Celtic come within a whisker of winning, Jamie Allen's brace and Ben McKenna giving Celtic a 3-2 lead, only for an equaliser with ten minutes to go, and a winner deep into stoppage time.

Stockport have lost striker Gary Stopforth as he has gone to Australia. Stockport's last game was the 3-0 away win over Brackley Town, in which they lined up as:
1. Andy Hinchliffe
2. Mark Ross
3. Scott Duxbury
4. Lewis Montrose
5. Michael Clarke
6. Chris Smalley
7. Sam Minihan
8. Callum Meppen-Walter
9. Josh Amis
10. Osborne
11. Danny Lloyd

Celtic's last match was the 0-0 away draw at Curzon Ashton. Keil O'Brien has also gone to Australia, and in that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Grant Shenton
2. Danny Morton
3. Danny Wisdom
4. Adam Mather
5. Fraser Horsfall
6. Matty Hughes
7. Kieran Dunbar
8. Gary Gee
9. Danny Wilkins
10. Lee Gaskell
11. Darren McKnight

Celtic are twelve points from putting our survival in our own hands. It has been twelve games since we have been beaten by more than one goal, and in the last five, we have won one drawn two and lost two, indicating positive signs of improvement, but without wins, this improvement may have come too late, with Celtic now having played exactly half our games.

With Trinity and Alfreton playing each other this weekend, Gainsborough could make themselves safe with a win, whilst Alfreton could move out of our reach with a win. Curzon could do Celtic a massive favour when they host Bradford, but like ourselves, Bradford will be scrapping for every point they can get.

Other matches this weekend:
Altrincham (9pts 22nd) v FC Halifax Town (45pts 8th)
Boston United (32pts 15th) v Harrogate Town (39pts 10th)
Brackley Town (41pts 9th) v Kidderminster Harriers (53pts 2nd)
Chorley (50pts 4th) v Darlington (46pts 6th)
Curzon Ashton (34pts 12th) v Bradford Park Avenue (22pts 20th)
Gainsborough Trinity (29pts 16th) v Alfreton Town (26pts 19th)
Nuneaton Town (32pts 14th) v Gloucester City (39pts 11th)
Salford City (50pts 3rd) v AFC Fylde (62pts 1st)
Worcester City (27pts 18th) v Tamworth (46pts 7th)

Distance: 12
Time: 30 minutes

Take the M60 to junction 1 (Stockport).
At the roundabout at the end of the sliproad turn back on yourself (exit 5 of 6) onto the A5145 following signs for Stockport West.
At the next roundabout go across (exit 3 of 5) onto the A560 (King Street West).
After half a mile turn right at the roundabout (2 of 3) onto Mercian Way.
The ground is a third of a mile on the left.