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Match Preview :- Alfreton Town - Saturday February 11th, 2006 (15:00:00)
Celtic must now bounce back from their disappointing exit from the Trophy on Tuesday night by getting on with the League. What better way to do this, than to take on struggling Alfreton Town at home on Saturday (kick off 3pm). Alfreton are currently just outside the two relegation spots in twentieth; nine points and seven places behind Celtic having played two games more.

Alfreton have won one game away this season, way back in August when they beat Hyde at Ewen Fields 3-2 with a last second goal. Since then, they have gone on to draw four away games and lose the remaining six. Their most recent away points came away at Northwich, whom they held to a 1-1, coming from behind to score another late goal. So obviously they can perform, and Celtic should not expect an easy game. This is especially so as Alfreton are on something of a mini-revival in their home games over the past few weeks, and will be looking to carry that into their away results. Their most recent game, on Tuesday night, was a 1-0 win over Worcester, and though prior to that they were beaten by Droylsden (at home) and Nuneaton (away), they have recently (mid-January) beaten both Hednesford and Worksop Towns.

Our previous meeting with Town was a 0-0 draw earlier in the season, one of only two clean sheets Alfreton have kept all season ? both at home.

Alfreton have failed to keep a clean sheet away from home this season, and have failed to score in five of their twelve games. This has left them with an away conceding ratio of 1.5 goals per game, whilst on the scoring front they sit at a goal per game. They have scored twenty-eight goals all season, the same number as Gainsborough Trinity leaving them at the bottom of the pile in the Goals For column, but they are only mid-table when it comes to goals-against, conceding only two less than Celtic.

Thirteen different players have scored their goals this season, with Chris White, Jon Stevenson and Peter Duffield all on four each, but without a goal between them since December. Lee Featherstone is their man of the moment, and has scored both their goals in their last two games. Their most prolific period has been around the half time interval, when they have scored eleven in a ten minute spell either side, or just before the final whistle when they have grabbed eight late goals. They are prone to conceding late goals as well, with ten let in during the last ten minutes.

Central Defender Mark Hume was sent off for the second game in succession against Nuneaton for Alfreton, and will be missing for the game due to his suspension kicking in.

In their last 1-0 win at home to Worcester, Alfreton lined up as:
1. Simon Rayner
2. Ryan Clarke
3. Lee Featherstone
4. David Robinson
5. Mark Hume
6. Mark Turner
7. Chris Bettney
8. Matt Fisher
9. Peter Duffield
10. Jon Stevenson
11. Jason Blunt

In Celtic?s last game, the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Salisbury in the Trophy, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Steve Garvey
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince

Celtic may have six games in hand on some teams, but they mean nothing if not converted into points. We are currently eight points behind the play-off zones, and will need to convert games into points quickly. Confidence will have taken a hit after the Trophy exit, but Alfreton are one of the more beatable teams in the league, holding the record of the most number of games without a win (twelve games between September and January. The players will need to put the Trophy from their minds and concentrate on getting the right result against Alfreton.

It won?t be an easy game: Alfreton are not safe yet and have picked up some good results recently. A Celtic that wants to win, though, will win this game. The automated prediction algorithm agrees with this sentiment and has predicted a 3-2 win for Celtic.
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