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Match Preview :- Hucknall Town - Saturday April 1st, 2006 (15:00:00)
Celtic are on the road again on Saturday, this time visiting Hucknall Town for a 3pm kick off. Hucknall are currently thirteenth in the table, seven places and seven points behind Celtic having played three games more, and in freefall at the moment, having dropped nine places since the start of the year.

There has been much movement in the playing staff at Hucknall over recent weeks. Since the arrival of new manager Kevin Wilson, several players have been shipped out, including the most recent casualty, ex-Celtic defender Chris Timons. In their place has come virtually a new team, and Hucknall are blaming their plummet down the table on waiting for the team to gel. This gelling time is a problem for Kevin Wilson, and Hucknall are yet to win under his stewardship. Indeed, Hucknall are now on a run of nine games without a win, have lost the last three matches and haven't won at home since January the second, when they beat Alfreton 4-2.

2005 was a good year for Hucknall, and nine wins and five draws out of twenty-one matches saw them take thirty-two points from a possible sixty-three and get into the play-off spots. 2006 saw the problems start; two wins this year (at home to Alfreton Town and away to Moor Green), plus six draws has seen them take only twelve points from forty-five. They failed to score in four matches through 2005, but in 2006, that has now risen to eleven matches without scoring. And whilst they kept five clean sheets in the first half of the season, they have kept three in the second half.

Michael Frew has been brought in to try and improve the goals for column, and has done well, scoring three goals in his last two matches, not enough to get them any points though, as the defence continues to leak. In their last six matches, they have conceded thirteen goals, and scored eight. Their top scorer is Robert Gill, who has been released to Ilkeston Town, but sits four goals clear on ten goals, which puts him joint fifteenth in the overall goal-scorers chart (level with Neil Prince and Paul Sykes).

On average, Hucknall score 1.5 goals per game at home (1.3 overall), and concede 1.3 goals per game (1.4 overall). Two thirds of their forty-eight goals have been scored in the second half, with around the hour mark seeing them at their most prolific, with twelve goals. Also, two thirds of their conceding is done in the second half, with just eighteen of their conceded forty-nine goals put past them in the first half. They don't concede much right at the death, but midway through the second half, they have conceded eighteen goals, suggesting this is their most vulnerable period.

So far this season, they have taken six points off nobody, and with Celtic having beaten them at Bower Fold, will be unable to improve that particular statistic on Saturday. Indeed, Celtic could join Stafford and Hinckley in the only teams to have taken six points off Hucknall. Going back further, Celtic have won at Hucknall only once, two seasons ago in a game we had to win to get into the Conference North. The last meeting between the two sides at Watnall Road was a comfortable 3-0 win for the home side. Fortunately, we won the reverse fixture at Bower Fold to secure safety in the Conference north last season. Another way of looking at it, when we have needed to beat Hucknall over the past couple of seasons, we have.

With all of the comings and goings at Watnall Road, it's unlikely that a settled side will be fielded, but in their last match, a 2-3 away defeat at Gainsborough, Hucknall lined up as:
1. Greg Smith
2. Alistair Asher
3. Tom Groves
4. Nathan Winder
5. Gary Sucharewycz
6. Russell Cooke
7. Mark Nangle
8. Hugh McAuley
9. Gary Ricketts
10. Michael Frew
11. Lee Colkin

In Celtic?s last game, the 2-0 win over Kettering Town, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Stephen Baynes
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Ashley Winn
7. James Turley
8. Barrie Keeling
9. Lee Ellington
10. Paul Sykes
11. Neil Prince

Celtic's recent record has seen us win three of the last six, with the losses coming at promotion hopefuls Harrogate, title chasers Northwich, and champions elect Stafford. Though our last away game was an uninspiring loss, we won the previous away game 1-0 at Worcester. We have conceded just three goals in the last six matches, and scored five. Despite only having three away wins all season, the automated prediction algorithm has us winning 3-1 at Hucknall. This result depends on which Celtic turns up; if the team that played against Harrogate appears, it is an unlikely scoreline, but if the team that played against Worcester, Nuneaton and Kettering turns up, it is a likely scoreline and Celtic would pile further pressure on beleaguered manager Kevin Wilson.

With Droylsden away at Workington (a very difficult place to get a result, and the automated prediction for that game is 3-2 to Workington), a Celtic win could narrow the gap between the two teams to three points, whilst still having two games in hand. Thus, we need to win.
Distance: 67
Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Head up Mottram Road, away from Bower Fold heading for Mottram.
At the mini-roundabout, bear left (exit 2 of 4) onto Back Moor.
At the end of this road, join the A57 (Mottram Moor) heading towards Glossop.
At the right turn junction for Glossop, go straight on heading for Tintwistle.
This puts you onto the A628 Woodhead Road.
After 13 miles you will come to Flouch Roundabout.
Turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A616.
After about 9 1/2 miles you will come to a second roundabout, go straight across (exit 3 of 5), heading for the M1.
After another mile you will reach the M1, you can only head South from this junction.
Stay on the M1 for about 35 miles, coming off at Junction 27 heading towards Heanor.
At the roundabout at the end of the slip-road, turn left (exit 1 of 4) onto the A608.
Almost immediately, there is another roundabout.
Bear right (exit 2 of 3) to stay on the A608 (Mansfield Road).
At the next roundabout go straight across (exit 2 of 3).
Almost immediately, there is another roundabout, turn right (exit 2 of 3) onto the A611, signposted Hucknall.
Stay on the A611 for 2 miles, coming to yet another roundabout.
Turn right (exit 2 of 3) to stay on the A611.
Less than a mile, and there is a roundabout, go straight across (exit 2 of 4).
At the next (the last) roundabout, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the B6009 (Watnall Road).
The ground is 100 yards on the right hand side.

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