Match Preview :- Southport - Saturday August 23rd, 2008 (3:00PM)
Saturday sees Celtic face their second tough home game in a row when Southport come to the Fold (kick off 3pm). Southport have had a flying start to the season, with a 100% record that has put them top of the Conference North (two places and two points ahead of Celtic). There will be a live match centre for this game, and the game will be segregated, with away fans taking the far terrace (Lockwood and Greenwood stand)

Their wins this season have come against Gainsborough Trinity (away), which they won 1-0, and home wins over Blyth Spartans (2-1) and Harrogate (1-0). With just one goal conceded, they are joint top of the defensive table (with Gateshead and Harrogate), whilst Celticís four conceded goals put us sixth. However, Celticís eight goals scored give us the joint number one spot in the attacking chart (with Telford), whilst Southportís four scored goals put them tenth, so it will be a case of one of the best front lines, against one of the best back lines...

Few will need reminding of Southportís last visit to Bower Fold, the play-off semi-final that Celtic won 2-1, but due to Paul Sykesís own goal, the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate, and went to penalties, which Celtic won, putting us in the play-off final at Burton. In the league games, we drew against Southport at home (2-2) and beat them at Southport (3-2). Southportís last league win over Celtic was at Bower Fold, back on New Yearís Day 2005, when they beat us 5-3 in atrocious conditions, following on from a 2-0 win on Boxing Day on their way to promotion. Celticís last league win over the Sandgrounders was in April 2004 when we beat them at Haig Avenue 3-2, following on from a 2-0 win at Bower Fold in September 2003.

Southport have started this season with virtually a new team, new manager, Liam Watson, bringing a large contingent from Burscough with him, and switching the club back to a part-time basis. In their last match, the 1-0 win over Harrogate, Southport lined up as:
1. Tony McMillan
2. Kevin Lee
3. Chris Lever
4. Earl Davis
5. James Connolly
6. John Doolan
7. Mark Duffy
8. Michael Powell
9. Tony Gray
10. Ciaran Kilheeney
11. Matty McGinn

Celticís new faces seem to have bedded in nicely. With Garry Burke and Martin Pearson out on loan to get some much needed matches under their belts, and with Andy Smart still some time off with his foot injury, Celtic lined up in their 3-2 win away at Hucknall Town as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Danny Wood
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Barwick
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Lee Ellington
10. Nathan Joynes
11. Chris Williams

The automated prediction algorithm is suggesting that Southport have the edge in this match, predicting a 3-2 win for the visitors. Celtic will need a good performance to stem Southportís 100% record, and leap-frog them in the table. Gatesheadís visit to Gainsborough Trinity will have a bearing on who will be top come the end of Saturday.
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