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Match Preview :- FC Halifax Town - Thursday March 3rd, 2005 (19:45:00)
On Thursday night, Celtic get back to the GLS Cup competition that has so far seen them see off Lancaster and Bradford. Now the competition gets tougher as we meet Conference National opposition for the first time in the shape of Halifax town. Halifax are currently fourth in the Conference National, and looking at a play off spot back into the football league.

Halifax haven't won away from home since the end of November when they beat Northwich Victoria 2-1, and that's the only away game they have won in the last ten away trips. They have drawn their last two away matches against Accrington and Aldershot, and lost the preceding one 1-2 at Morecambe. In addition, they have drawn their last three matches, home and away, with Northwich almost getting revenge, with a 2-2 draw at Halifax.

In their last ten matches, they have kept two clean sheets and failed to score twice (both 0-0 draws), they have scored eleven goals and conceded fifteen. Their home form is a different matter, with three losses, three draws and ten wins all season, but their not playing at the Shay, they're at Bower Fold.

Their top scorer in all competitions is Craig Midgely, with eleven goals, though Kileen Lewis has scored the same number of league goals, but has yet to score in a cup match. Former Stalybridge Celtic player Steve Bushell has bagged three goals for the Shaymen this season. On loan striker, Steve Mansaram, has made an impression since he joined from Grimsby, getting six goals. Town's most profitable period in front of goal is around the seventy-minute mark, whilst they have been hurt the most by goals in the final few minutes of the game.

Halifax played 3-5-2 in their last game, and with no suspensions, or injuries to worry about, they lined up at home to Northwich as:
1. Ian Dunbavin
12. Adam Quinn
6. Denny Ingham
14. Paul Stoneman
29. Steve Haslam
8. Craig Midgely
4. Steve Bushell
15. Martin Foster
19. Dean Howell
11. Ryan Sugden
10. Kileen Lewis

Apart from Dave German who is still recovering from a hernia operation, John Reed has a fully fit squad to choose from. Celtic lined up as 4-3-3 in their last game away at Gainsborough, as:
1. Craig Dootson
2. Grant Black
3. Tony Whealing
4. Gregg Pearce
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Paul Shepherd
7. Paul Sykes
8. Scott Bonsall
9. Andy Parton
10. Aron Wilford
11. Andy Hayward

Halifax can be beaten. They've not got the best goal scoring record in the Conference, but they are a very good team, looking at getting back into the football league this season. A strong defensive performance should contain them, and we could very well snatch a late goal. This will be a tricky tie, and if we do go out, it is no bad thing, for the GLS cup is a distraction we could do without. Should we go through, though, there is an away tie at Worksop waiting, and then an away tie at Morecambe for the winner of that, before a semi-final place against either Northwich or Accrington.
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