Match Preview :- Redditch United - Tuesday February 15th, 2005 (19:45:00)
As well as the Fans? Night, Tuesday also sees a vital football match as Celtic host Redditch United with a 7.45pm kick off. Redditch are currently just outside the play off places in sixth, nineteen points above Celtic and looking for a win to allow them to replace Droylsden in the play-off spots. We last met in the Trophy last season, when we thumped them 3-0 and missed a penalty. They?ll be out for revenge.

Things are looking good for Redditch at the moment, after a lean spell early in the season saw them drop to midtable, they have come back strongly and inched their way up the table reaching the play off spots once already. Their home form has been good recently, seeing off other potential relegation candidates with Barrow, Bradford and Moor Green all succumbing to Redditch?s goal scoring machine. Away from home, things haven?t been so rosy, with Moor Green and Gainsborough both winning at home to the travelling Robins. They last won away from home when they visited Hinckley at the start of January, but before that their last victory away from home was back in October against Nuneaton. They have managed to draw two of their recent away games, at Lancaster and Vauxhall.

Redditch do hold the league record for an away win, thanks to their 6-1 demolition of Barrow back in September. They?ve also suffered defeat in one of the highest scoring away games, losing 5-3 to Worksop.

In their last six games, they?ve scored ten goals and conceded six, including a single clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Lancaster. Throughout the season, they?ve failed to score seven times, and kept eight clean sheets. When they do score though, they quite often score a lot with seven games scoring three or more goals.

Their goal scoring prowess mainly comes down to one man: Norman Sylla. This goal-scoring guru is second in the golden boot league on seventeen goals, three goals behind the goal-scoring god Terry Fearns. He came on loan originally to Redditch, and liked scoring so much he stayed. His goal tally is even more remarkable when his three week layoff due to injury is factored in. Over the last six games, he has scored three of Redditch?s goals, and is currently averaging a goal every other game. He didn?t score in Redditch?s last game at home to Bradford, leaving the responsibility to strike partner Scott Rickards, who has a healthy eight goals to his name, hovering just outside the goal scorers? chart. Rickards, lately, has also been scoring a goal every other game, and it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that one or the other will be on the score sheet come the final whistle on Tuesday. It will certainly require a monumental effort from the Celtic rear-guard to keep the pair at bay.

Away from home, Redditch score an average of 1.5 goals per game, whilst conceding 1.1. They?ve kept four away clean sheets, and failed to score in three away games.

Most of their goals come in the second half with fifteen goals scored in the last ten minutes, although they have also scored ten in the last ten minutes of the first half as well. Conceding wise, they are vulnerable just before half time, and just before full time.

This will be a stern test of Celtic?s resurgence. Currently they are unbeaten in six games, with one loss in seven. We score 1.6 goals per game, and concede 2.2. Most of our scoring is done around the hour and just before full time, whilst we concede most heavily around the half hour and full time. Our top scorers are Nathan Wharton and Andy Hayward with five apiece, though Andy Parton and Aron Wilford are scoring freely since their arrival.

We also have the advantage of having had a restful Saturday, something the team desperately needed. The automatic prediction for the game is saying 2-1 to Celtic, which is something of a surprise, given the relative positions of the two clubs.

Redditch have got no injury or suspension worries ahead of the game, and lined up against Bradford as:
1. Richard Antiss
2. Matt Clarke
3. Asa Charlton
4. Rob Taylor
5. Gary Knight
6. Sean Flynn
7. Simon Hollis
8. Richard Softley
9. Norman Sylla
10. Scott Rickards
11. Danny Scheppel

Celtic have their usual injury list of Kev Parr, Chris Denham and Terry Bowker with the latest addition of Dean Calcutt, although the latter should pass a fitness test. They lined up against Moor Green as:
1. Craig Dootson
2. Grant Black
3. Tony Whealing
4. Paul Shepherd
5. Paul Sykes
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Dean Calcutt
8. Scott Bonsall
9. Andy Parton
10. Aron Wilford
11. Nathan Wharton

With the gap between Celtic and safety beginning to widen again, as Barrow and Vauxhall begin to pull away, today is yet another massive, must win game.
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