Celtic will welcome Tamworth on Saturday (3pm kickoff) for the first of our reverse fixtures this season. Since losing to us, Tamworth have gone on something of a run and now sit atop the league on thirty-one points, four places and six points ahead of Celtic. There will not
be a match centre for this match.
Tamworth have not lost away from home this season (along with Southport and Droylsden, they are the only team with this distinction now ourselves and Stafford have lost away). They hold the current league record for the most games without loss (twelve), and have not been beaten since we beat them back at the start of the season. Among that run they have also collected the most consecutive wins (six), and the longest scoring streak (eleven games), that run ending with a goalless draw in their last outing at home to Gainsborough Trinity. The other league record that they currently hold is the highest aggregate score-line with a 6-2 home win over Burscough. Tamworth have scored one more goal than Celtic and so are top of the attack stakes, with Celtic one place behind them. With only thirteen goals conceded, they are fifth in the defensive stakes as well.
Our last meeting was back in August when we beat Tamworth 3-0 at their place in their only defeat of the season so far; they will no doubt be looking for revenge and have their eye on the fact that Celtic have only won twice at home this season. Given Tamworth?s current run, it is no surprise that the automated prediction algorithm has suggested a 3-1 score-line in Tamworth?s favour for this match. If we play as well as we did against Stafford, then this may well not be an accurate prediction. That said, prior to this season, we hadn?t beaten Tamworth in the last few years, drawing at home 0-0 back in the 07-08 season, and losing 2-0 away. Tamworth also knocked us out of the Trophy that season, beating us 2-0 at home.
Tamworth?s top scorer so far this campaign is Nick Wright, who has nine goals, putting him top of the league?s goal scoring chart. Gareth Sheldon is right behind him on eight. Tamworth have kept four clean sheets this season, two of them away (Blyth and Stafford), whilst they have scored in every away match, and only drawn a blank in two home games (Gainsborough and us). With twelve of their twenty-nine goals this campaign coming in the first half, they are a second half team, though they have also conceded more in this period (eight of the thirteen conceded). They score an average of 2.1 goals per game and concede 0.7 goals per away game (1.1 overall).
Tamworth will be without loan signing David Bevan, the keeper on-loan from Aston Villa was sent off against Barrow and will be suspended for one match, the one against Celtic. Craig McAughtrie is sidelined through a thigh injury, and Des Lyttle looks doubtful, whilst Conference North Player of the Month, Bradley Pritchard, picked up a calf strain in their last game, the 0-0 draw against Gainsborough. In that match, Tamworth lined up as:
1. David Bevan
2. Des Lyttle
3. Dominic Langdon
4. Chris Smith
5. Michael Wylde
6. Martin Foster
7. Nick Wright
8. Tom Shaw
9. Gareth Sheldon
10. Alex Rodman
11. Bradley Pritchard
Celtic will be without Paul Sykes through his long term injury, whilst Chris Williams and Danny Wood were missing from Saturday?s defeat away at Alfreton. Tom Sharpe was missing through the flu, and hopefully will be available for Saturday. Barrie Keeling?s red card does not kick in for another couple of days. However, Ashley Woolliscroft will also be missing as he serves the last of his three match ban. In our last match, the 2-1 defeat at Alfreton, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Richard Battersby
3. Rhys Meynell
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Barwick
6. Andy Smart
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Lee Ellington
10. Matty Barlow
11. Nicky Platt
Celtic can take heart from the fact that we have beaten Tamworth once already this season, and that a win would put us a mere three points behind the current league leaders. A defeat would see us drift nine points behind them though, so a good performance is required.
Other game on Saturday (League position/Points):
Gainsborough Trinity (10/20) v Stafford Rangers (9/21)
Gateshead (12/19) v Burscough (21/11)
Hucknall Town (22/7) v King?s Lynn (13/19)
Redditch United (11/20) v Hinckley United (6/22)
Solihull Moors (20/12) v Hyde United (19/12)
Workington (15/16) v Farsley Celtic (7/21)