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Match Preview :- Harrogate Town - Tuesday December 7th, 2004 (19:45:00)
Tuesday night sees the return of Harrogate Town to the Fold ? kick off 7.45pm. Harrogate were not here all that long ago, when Celtic put them out of the FA Trophy with a comprehensive second half performance that saw them through as 3-2 winners.

Harrogate?s away record this season is not overly impressive, and they have not won away from Wetherby Road since September when they beat Lancaster at the Giant Axe. They don?t have that much problem scoring away from home, with 7 goals in the last five away league trips, but it is in defence where there problems lie, conceding 7 goals as well. With only 6 away points all season, Harrogate are only marginally better than Celtic away from home.

Most of their scoring is done in the first half, with well over half of their goals scored in this period. Conceding though is done in equal measure across the two halves. Colin Hunter and ex-Celt James Turley are the danger men, with 9 league goals and 4 league goals respectively, despite not scoring since the end of September. Over the season, away from home, they score 1.1 goals per game, whilst conceding 1.6, which is indicative of how tight this league is this season, with Harrogate currently in second place, and Celtic in last, with only 20 points separating them.

Celtic?s position in the league is a cause for concern, and a win on Tuesday would not lift us out of the relegation zone, as we are currently five points off safety. A win though, would set us up for the trip on Saturday to Barrow, which is a real relegation dog fight, and something the bookies would not have predicted at the start of the season! Two wins could lift us out of the relegation zone and even above fellow our Tameside team, Ashton. Given the recent performance at Worcester, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Celtic can turn their season around even at this late stage. With another difficult away trip next week against Stafford, two league wins on the trot is something Celtic should be looking for to avoid being in the danger area come Christmas when we face the rampant Southport.

Harrogate have lost loan signing Clayton Donaldson, who caused the Celtic defence quite a few problems in the trophy, as his loan period ended a fortnight ago. However, last season?s goal hero, Lee Morris, returns from his loan at Wakefield-Emley in time to be picked for Harrogate Squad, but may not get off the bench with Danny Holland and Marc Smith the preferred front pairing at the moment.

1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Mark Barnard
4. Leigh Wood
5. Simon Sturdy
6. Lee Philpott
7. Richard Dunning
8. Paul Shepherd
9. Marc Smith
10. Danny Holland
11. James Turley

Celtic have a new defender in Lee Connor, but are still without a recognised strike partner for Andy Hayward. The formation used against Worcester might again be employed as it could be effective at penning in Harrogate?s wing backs.

1. Phil Priestley
2. Dave German
3. Tony Whealing
4. Terry Bowker
5. Lee Connor
6. Nathan Wharton
7. Darren Bowman
8. Kev Parr
9. Andy Hayward
10. Paul Sykes
11. Barrie Keeling

Celtic need to ensure that they take maximum points against Harrogate. They need to put the weekend defeat at the back of their minds, and only take from it an urgency to win. Celtic?s performance at Worcester was worthy of points, Tuesday must see a performance that gets the points.
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