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Match Preview :- Hinckley United - Saturday December 16th, 2006 (15:00:00)
Celtic continue their quest in the FA Trophy on Saturday with the visitors being Hinckley United. Hinckley are second in the league on goal difference, having a game in hand on league leader?s Droylsden. They have been having a fantastic season so far, and have only been beaten four times. Indeed, their only defeat at home came at our hands, so they will be looking for a measure of revenge.

Since that defeat Hinckley have lost one, drawn one and won one. Their win came away at inconsistent Moor Green, their draw at home to Hucknall Town and their defeat came away at Scarborough. Hyde and Gainsborough have also recorded victories over United, both away. Hinckley?s most impressive win has to be the 2-1 away win at Kettering early in the season. Elsewhere on the road, they have beaten Lancaster and Redditch.

Hinckley have failed to score just three times, all on the road, and all ended in defeat for them. As we proved, they are not undefeatable, and they have conceded in all bar one game this season, the 1-0 victory over Moor Green, which was their last away match. This gives them a goals conceded ratio of 1.3, whilst their away goals for ratio is 1.4 (1.8 overall). Their top goal scorer this season is Carl Heggs with six, though ex-Celt Leon Kelly and Neil Cartwright are hot on his heels with five apiece. Hinckley?s goal scoring is quite evenly spread throughout the game, with a peak in the last five minutes where they have scored six. Defensively they are shaky in this period also, having conceded eight in the last ten minutes this season.

Like ourselves, Hinckley crashed out early in the FA Cup, going out to Moor Green. They also had to negotiate a tricky tie in the FA Trophy with ambitious Ilkeston Town narrowly losing out after visiting the Marston Stadium. Previous meetings between the two clubs do not stretch back all that far, starting with the Conference North. Hinckley have beaten us once in that time, our very first meeting. Since then there have been three draws, and one win, the last meeting, naturally!

Hinckley are suffering somewhat from injuries at the moment, with attackers Leon Kelly just coming back from an absence (he may be starting), and Neil Cartwright still someway away. Defender Tom Birch made it to the bench for Hinckley in their 1-1 draw with Hucknall, leaving left-back Michael Love occupying the centre-back position. Goal keeper Sean Bowles, defender Mike Byron and forward Russell Fry are loan players, but as they all played in the previous round of the Trophy, it is likely that they will appear again.

In their 1-1 draw with Hucknall Town, Hinckley lined up as:
1. Sean Bowles
2. Adam Wykes
3. Jamie Lenton
4. Richard Lavery
5. Mike Byron
6. Michael Love
7. Stuart Storer
8. Sam Shilton
9. Carl Heggs
10. Russell Fry
11. Owen Story

Celtic are having our own mini-crisis. Lee Morris has gone to Frickley Athletic, James Turley is cup tied, and will be playing at Mossley on the day of the game to keep his fitness up. On the plus side, Neil Prince made a full appearance at Redditch. In that match, the 2-1 win away from home, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Barrie Keeling
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Hume
5. Paul Sykes
6. Ashley Winn
7. Steve Smith
8. Dominic Krief
9. Lee Ellington
10. Steve Brodie
11. Neil Prince

The automated prediction algorithm has the game pegged as a fourth 1-1 draw between the two clubs, which would of course necessitate a midweek replay at the Marston Stadium. Hopefully, Celtic can play as well as they have been doing, and do the job at the first time of asking. It would make a change!
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