Match Preview :- Southport - Saturday January 1st, 2005 (3:00PM)
New Year's Day (Saturday) will see Celtic have the return leg of their clash with Promotion favourites, Southport. Southport are currently top and a full 27 points ahead of Celtic.

They lost their last away match (at Altrincham) and could only manage a draw int he game before that at Lancaster. That said, they stuffed Runcorn in their last away victory at the start of December.

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 4 clean sheets - a fact that makes their defence the third best in the league. They score an average of 1.3 goals away, and concede 0.9 - which is less than their home ratio. 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 over 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 make us number 3 having already beaten us last week.

Celtic are coming into the game on the back of 6 straight losses. At home Celtic score 1.5 goals per game but concede 2.12 (which is more than when we are away!). In the league, we won at home only one game ago, against Ashton.

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. Jerome Fitzgerald
4. Farrell Kilbane
5. Earl Davis
6. Dominic Morley
7. Carl Baker
8. Kevin Lynch
9. Terry Fearns
10. Neil Robinson
11. Kevin Leadbetter

Celtic's injury list is extensive and covers every position on the pitch. Craig Dootson and Gregg PEarce were both on the bench last week, but Phil Eastwood, and Chris Denham are still some time away. Danny Caldecott is also going to be some time after twisting his ankle, and Tony Whealing is still not fit enough to play. Scott Bonsall and Kev Parr both returned to the side against Southport, joined by the new signing of Phil Hadland. This week also sees the signings of ex-Ashton and Emley player Lincoln Adams, who is a strong defender or striker, and Ndiwa (Andy) Lord-Kangana an ex-Rochdale, Bolton and Tunisian defender with dual Swedish and Congo nationality who has played for the U-19's in Sweden and the full professionals in the DRC. Both are available for selection against Southport.

Our last team was:
1. Phil Priestley
2. Darren Bowman
3. Danny Caldecott
4. Terry Bowker
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Smith
8. Kevin Parr
9. Andy Hayward
10. Phil Hadland
11. Nathan Wharton

The general feeling is for a Celtic loss in this match - but Celtic just may suprise a few people...
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