After another defeat, Celtic now find themselves just five points clear of the drop zone having played more games than three of the teams below them. On the back of a perilous defeat away at Nuneaton, Celtic must travel down south again for another away encounter, this time at Worcester. (3pm kick off). Worcester are currently five places and six points ahead of Celtic, having played a game less.
Worcester drew their last match 3-3 with Vauxhall Motors having gone through seven officials. Worcester had led the game right up until the much delayed final whistle when Vauxhall grabbed a late goal to equalise. This means that Worcester have now won just two of their last ten matches, both good home victories over Hinckley and Kettering. The last meeting between the two teams was back in December, when Worcester visited the Fold, and drew 1-1. With Celtic having won four of their last six away matches, the automated prediction algorithm has gone for another draw in this one, predicting 2-2. Our last visit to the Lane saw Celtic come away victorious, with a 1-0 win. At this point, a clean sheet would be a miracle, never mind a win! Celtic currently hold the record for the most number of games in which they have conceded, at twenty-one matches, conceding sixty-two goals in the process.
Worcester?s top scorers are currently Craig Wilding and Mark Danks, both of who have scored nine goals apiece, with George Clegg on seven. This puts them on joint tenth (with Mark Hume) and joint twenty-eighth respectively. Worcester score an average of 1.9 goals per game at home (1.5 overall), and concede 1.6 (1.3 overall). They have kept two clean sheets at home (seven overall), and scored in eleven of their fourteen home games. In the first half, the half hour mark has seen them score nine goals, whilst in the second half they are most dangerous around the eighty minute mark, where another nine of their forty-one goals have come from. They are very stingy in the second half, with a mere thirteen of their conceded thirty-five goals have come; the quarter hour mark is their most vulnerable period, where they have conceded eleven goals.
City are coming to the end of a spell with players injured, and welcomed back Adam Webster from injury, and look to be heading into the game with a clean bill of health. In their last match, the 1-1 draw with Vauxhall, Worcester lined up as:
1. Danny McDonnell
2. Graham Ward
3. Adam Burley
4. Chris Smith
5. Justin Thompson
6. Chris Cornes
7. Tom Warmer
8. Adam Webster
9. Mark Danks
10. Craig Wilding
11. George Clegg
Celtic will be without Ashley Winn, who has picked up enough cautions to start a two match ban against Worcester. Lee Ellington will have completed his ban, and is back in contention for a starting place. However, Luke Foster has left the club to join Oxford United, necessitating several changes in the Celtic line up. There is also a question mark over whether or not Paul Pettinger will be playing having been placed on the transfer list. In Celtic?s last match, the 3-2 loss away at Nuneaton, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Luke Foster
5. Mike Flynn
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Ashley Winn
8. Paul Sykes
9. Matty Barlow
10. Mark Hume
11. James Olsen
Celtic need the win - not to get their season back on track, but to save their skins. There are easier games in which to do this, but that is not to be, and Celtic must dig deep. The return of Lee Ellington and the fact that Steve Brodie played a part in the match should help, but the loss of Ashley Winn will be deeply felt.
Those games also happening on Saturday that will affect us are (points/place in brackets):
Worksop (34/15) v Barrow (33/16)
Redditch (25/21) v Kettering (49/3)
Hyde (44/5) v Leigh RMI (29/19)
Hinckley (42/8) v Scarborough (28/20)
Farsley (43/7) v Gainsborough (31/18)
Alfreton (39/13) v Vauxhall (36/14)
With Celtic currently on thirty-three points in seventeenth, should we lose only Gainsborough could move above us, should they win their match at Farsley. However, Vauxhall and either Worksop or Barrow can all move more than a win away, and unless Worksop v Barrow is a draw, one of those two definitely will. In addition, Leigh RMI and Scarborough could both move to within a win of overtaking us, if they win at Hyde and Hinckley.