Match Preview :- Harrogate Town - Saturday March 17th, 2007 (15:00:00)
Harrogate roll into town on Saturday (3pm) kick off, looking to cement their place in the play-off spots. They are currently sitting pretty in fourth, twelve places and thirteen points ahead of Celtic. Celtic are looking to reach safety, so with both teams needing the win, a cracking game should ensue.

After a cracking start to the season, Harrogate actually topped the table for a week, but a poor run of form saw them plummet to eleventh, but they have pulled it around, and steadily climbed back into the play-off spots, and have been in contention for a couple of months now. They have not got the best away record in the league (that would be Scarborough), but they are doing all right, and have beaten Vauxhall Motors 5-1 at Rivacre Road this year. Out of their last five games, Harrogate have won three and lost two, with only Hyde and Workington beating them. They have Gainsborough, Leigh and Vauxhall over that period, scoring thirteen goals and conceding ten (though the 4-0 away at Hyde has biased that number). Their home record recently has not been the best, seeing them take two draws, two losses (against Alfreton and Scarborough) and only one win at home over the last five matches.

Overall then, Harrogate have lost three of their last five, and won only one, and for this reason, the automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 1-1 draw. Celtic?s thirty-two game conceding run suggests that there will be goals, and our attack is the fifth best in the league, so hopefully we can score, despite being up against one of the league?s best defences. Having won our last two home matches, the mood in the camp should be confident.

Previous meetings between the clubs have seen Celtic win three of the last five matches at Bower Fold and Harrogate win two of them. Celtic won the last encounter, last season, 3-1 ? the reverse of the score line from the season before. We also put Harrogate out of the FA Trophy in a comeback special match, memorable for Terry Bowker?s most spectacular goal.

Their top scorer this season is Danny Holland by head and shoulders, his sixteen goals put him fourth in the Golden Boot table, four goals behind Lee Ellington in third. Kirk Jackson is on nine for Harrogate, putting him outside the top twenty goal scorers. Harrogate are dangerous any time in a match, but especially so in the last ten minutes, when they have scored twelve of their forty-eight goals. On average, they are scoring 1.6 goals per game away from home (1.4 overall), and conceding 1.1 per game (1.0 overall). They have conceded just eight goals in the first half of their matches this season, with the remainder of their thirty-two conceded coming in the second half, with nine just before the full time whistle.

Harrogate do not have anybody suspended or injured for the match, with Danny Holland returning after a one-match suspension.

In their last match, the 1-1 draw at home to Hucknall, Harrogate lined up as:
1. James Lindley
2. Jamie Price
3. Dave Merris
4. Chris Ellerker
5. Chris Timons
6. Darren Dunning
7. Chris Bettney
8. Roy Hunter
9. Colin Hunter
10. James McGarry
11. Leigh Wood
Celtic will be without Kevin Parr, whose recent red card leaves him suspended for this match and next Saturday?s game away at Hucknall Town. In our last match, the 2-1 defeat away at Worksop, we lined up as:
1. Simon Bishop
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Paul Sykes
5. Mike Flynn
6. Ashley Winn
7. Dominic Krief
8. Matty Barlow
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. Neil Prince

Celtic are currently eight points clear of the relegation zone, in a congested part of the table, where three points could lift us to thirteenth, and a loss could see us drop to nineteenth, depending on how other games go. Gainsborough are away Redditch on Tuesday, but Leigh are there on Saturday, and Vauxhall host Scarborough, in a series of relegation battle games. Points will be won by our chasing pack over the next few days, and if we don?t take three points on Saturday, we could find ourselves teetering on the edge of the drop zone.
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