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Match Preview :- Southport - Sunday December 26th, 2004 (15:00:00)
Boxing Day (Sunday) will see Celtic have a little trip to the sea-side to face Promotion favourites, Southport in the first of a double header. Southport are currently fourth a full 24 points ahead of Celtic.

They have not lost at home since September when Kettering put three past them, and there has only been one other loss at home all season when Ashton United beat them 2-1 in what was a shock result (here's hoping for another!). They did lose their last game though, away at Altrincham, and only managed a draw at Lancaster, so they are in something of a slump by their standards.

They have scored in every one of their last 10 games, and only failed to score in 2 games against Hinckley and Gainsborough. In the same period they have kept 3 clean sheets - a fact that makes their defence the third best in the league (we put two past the second best!). They score an average of 1.7 goals at home, and concede 1.2. Their high scoring ratio is down, mainly, to one man: Terry Fearns. Terry is the league's top scorer and is a one man goal machine. His nearest rival in the squad is Neil Robinson with 6; indeed, he has scored almost half of all of Southport's goals. His most prolific period (and therefore Southport's) is the 10 minutes around half time.

They have taken 6 points off two teams this season, Nuneaton and Runcorn, and will be looking to take a further 6 off us over the Festive games.

Celtic are coming into the game on the back of 5 straight losses, having not played a competitive game for a fortnight. Away from home Celtic score a paltry 0.73 goals per game and concede 1.73. We have not won away from home this season, and have not gained any points at all since the start of September at Moor Green.

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Sid Pickford
Southport have a few familiar faces in the squad, with Sid Pickford and Earl Davis likely to be in the starting line up and Jerome Fitzgerald likely to be on the bench. With only the long term injury to Neil Fitzhenry, Southport will more than likely continue to play the same team that has been playing so well this season (I bet Martyn Lancaster's really glad he went to Southport now!).

Southport's last team was:
1. Steve Dickinson
2. Steve Pickford
3. Alex Mortimer
4. Farrell Kilbane
5. Earl Davis
6. Dominic Morley
7. Chris Price
8. Kevin Lynch
9. Terry Fearns
10. Neil Robinson
11. Lee Mulvaney

Celtic's injury list of Phil Eastwood, Chris Denham, Scott Bonsall, Kevin Parr, Dean Calcutt, Tony Whealing, Danny Caldecott, Gregg Pearce and Craig Dootson is by now familiar. Scott, Kev, Gregg, Dean and Danny are all well on the way to recovery and more than one of them may be able to play over the festive games. Also available is new signing, striker Phil Hadland, who will probably join Andy Hayward up front.

Our last team was:
1. Phil Priestley
2. Dave German
3. Tony Whealing
4. Terry Bowker
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Smith
8. Paul Weller
9. Andy Hayward
10. Nathan Wharton
11. Lee Connor

Celtic start this game as underdogs and bottom of the table. Celtic need to make their New Year start early, put the results and disappointments behind them and start to play their way out of the relegation zone. There is half of the season left, and the only way is up.
Distance: 60
Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

From the M67 join the M60 travelling towards Stockport.
Stay on the M60 for 17 miles to junction 11 (M62, Liverpool) Join the M62 towards Liverpool.
Stay on the M62 for 8 miles to junction 10 (Birmingham, Preston).
The slip road forks, bear to the right (Preston) and join the M6 Northbound.
Stay on the M6 for 8 miles to junction 26 (Skelmerside) At the roundabout at the end of the slip road, turn left (exit 1 of 3) onto the M58.
Stay on the M58 for 5 miles to junction 3 (St Helens).
At the roundabout at the end of the slip road, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A570.
Almost immediately, there is a second roundabout, turn left (exit 1 of 4) to stay on the A570 (now called Ormskirk Road).
After 4 miles the A570 makes a sharp left turn.
Quarter of a mile later, it crosses the A59 (County Road) at a staggered cross roads) Turn right then immediate left to stay on the A570 (now called Southport Road).
After 5 1/2 miles you will reach a roundabout with the B5276.
Bear left (exit 3 of 6) to stay on the A570 (now called Scarisbrick New Road).
Take the next right just past the King George V College onto Haig Avenue, the ground is just up Haig Avenue.

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