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Match Preview :- Solihull Moors - Saturday January 6th, 2007 (15:00:00)
After the defensive debacle against Hyde on New Year?s Day, Celtic will feel that they have something to prove when Moor Green come rolling into to town for a 3pm kick off on Saturday, but making the point will be difficult as Moor Green are currently riding high, sitting four places and four points ahead of Celtic, in eleventh, despite Celtic having played a game more.

To top this off, Moor Green have lost only one match in the last five, away at Hinckley on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. Out of their last three away matches, that was the only one that they have lost, winning at Redditch and Blyth. Out of all eleven away games though, they have won only four, beating Worcester in August and Farsley at the start of September. Moor Green are capable of exploiting a weak defence, having twice scored five at home (against Droylsden and Vauxhall) and once getting four away at Hyde, so the defence that shipped twelve goals in its last three matches will have to improve somewhat!

Their goals this season have, as usual, been coming from Darren Middleton. This once-target of Celtic has bagged seven goals this season, though only twice away. Danny Davidson, Phil Trainer and Peter Faulds are all trailing in his wake on four apiece. On average, Moor Green score 0.9 goals per game away from home (1.3 overall) and concede 1.7 goals per away game (1.4 overall). Well over half of their goals (eighteen of twenty-nine) have been scored in the opening half, whilst just over half (seventeen of thirty-one) have been conceded in the second half. With ten goals scored in the fifteen to thirty minute mark, this is their most dangerous period, whilst any time after sixty minutes seems to be a good time to score against them.

Previous meetings between the two sides have been mainly draws, though both sides have won one game each, Celtic back in September 2005, and Moor Green in the last meeting between the two sides at their temporary Solihull home. This, coupled with the recent form of the two teams has led the automated prediction algorithm to suggest a 2-2 draw. Hopefully, the defence will improve and we can get our third clean sheet of the season. Moor Green have had five clean sheets so far, but they will be up against the fourth best attack in the league, and the league?s joint second top-scorer.

Moor Green will probably be without Danny Davidson who was involved in a car accident prior to their festive fixture list. This appears to be their only injury doubt, and in their last match, the 1-1 draw at home to Redditch, Moor Green lined up as:
1. Daniel Lewis
2. Richard Follett
3. Philip Midworth
4. Lee Ayres
5. Andy Penny
6. Terry Flemming
7. Dave Morrison
8. Phil Trainer
9. Darren Middleton
10. Jason Moore
11. Dale Anderson

Celtic will be without Mark Haran and Steve Smith, whilst Barrie Keeling missed the home derby with Hyde due to a hamstring injury picked up against Droylsden. Kevin Parr and Steve Brodie both picked up hamstring injuries against Hyde, and both players will have to be looked at ahead of the Moor Green match. In Celtic?s last match, the 7-3 defeat at the hands of Hyde, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Paul Sykes
5. Mike Flynn
6. Ashley Winn
7. Steve Brodie
8. Dominic Krief
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. Kevin Parr

Saturday?s match will show what the Celtic squad are made of. Whether they can put the past three matches behind them and look forward will be down to individual character and the motivational skills of John Reed. Given the start Celtic had at the beginning of the second half against Hyde, those traits cannot be ignored.
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