Match Preview :- Hucknall Town - Tuesday January 20th, 2009 (7:45PM)
Tuesday night will see the visit of the league?s basement club to Bower Fold when Hucknall come for the Conference North clash (kick off 7:45pm ? there will be a live match centre for this game). Hucknall are currently bottom, sixteen places and twenty-one points behind Celtic, having played three games more. It has been ninety days and eight games since Celtic last played at Bower Fold and the club hope as many people as possible can come to urge the lads on.

Hucknall have won just three of their last twenty-three games, two of which were away (against Vauxhall Motors and Fleetwood Town), whilst their only home win of the current campaign also came against Fleetwood. They have also drawn six games this season, two of which came in their last two games against Alfreton (1-1) and Tamworth (1-1), both excellent results and shows that Hucknall are striving towards getting out of the relegation zone. They are currently only four points off safety, so it is still well within their grasp.

We have played Hucknall this season when we visited them in August and won a close fought encounter 3-2, and so could become the second of our six point hauls this season (out first was the win at the weekend over Solihull Moors). Hucknall?s last win at Bower Fold was their last visit to Bower Fold in November 2007 when they walked away 3-0 winners, a result we reversed when we paid them a return visit. Our last victory over them at Bower Fold was back in November 2005 (we drew 2-2 in August 2006), when we won 2-1 ? a result they reversed when we went there in March 2006. In the last twenty years of meetings, we have won four of our eight matches here at Bower Fold, whilst Hucknall have won three of them, whilst away, Hucknall have won four and lost three of the nine matches at Watnall Road.

Hucknall have kept just one clean sheet this season, 0-0 away at Stafford. They have shipped five twice this season, once at home to Telford and once away at Alfreton. In both of those games they failed to score, and have failed to score in eleven games in total (seven away). Their top scorer this season is Danny Bacon, who has seven of their twenty goals, with Laurie Wilson his closest competitor for the Golden Boot on four. Hucknall have shipped fifty one goals in total, with thirty of those away from home. This gives them an average of 0.9 goals per game (0.8 away) and conceding 2.2 goals per game (2.5 away). Their most dangerous period is the first fifteen minutes when they have scored five, a full quarter of their goals this season; whilst their most vulnerable period is the last half hour, when they have shipped half their goals.

Hucknall have no players suspended for the match, and have a clean bill of health. In their last match, the excellent 1-1 draw at league leaders, Tamworth, Hucknall lined up as:
1. James Lindley
2. Luke Smith
3. Tremain Walters
4. Don Meikle
5. Chris Timons
6. Gary Sucharewycz
7. Laurie Wilson
8. David Kettle
9. Gary Ricketts
10. Danny Bacon
11. Richard Liburd

Celtic are also suspension free, though Keith Briggs will be missing Saturday?s match against Workington through a suspension for an accumulation of cautions. Paul Sykes managed ten minutes at the end of Solihull match, and looked like he thoroughly enjoyed it. Chris Williams was missing in that match through illness. In the 2-0 away win over Solihull, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Rhys Meynell
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Nicky Platt
6. Andy Smart
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Matty Barlow
10. Nathan Joynes
11. Richard Battersby

The automated prediction algorithm has suggested a 4-3 score-line in Celtic?s favour for this match. Hopefully it won?t be as close as that! Celtic could do with getting a few home wins under their belt; although we have lost just twice at home (Harrogate and Southport), we have only won twice as well (Stafford and Solihull). It is worth mentioning that Celtic have played only eight home games so far this season, a record we share with Blyth, who have had the excuse of a big FA Cup run. The home games will be coming thick and fast now, and Celtic need to make Bower Fold a difficult place for teams to visit in order to press on into the top five. If we win our games in hand we will overtake Harrogate, Telford and Gateshead, and would be just three behind Tamworth, though we remain seven behind Southport. Tuesday night gives Celtic a great chance to start narrowing that gap, with only Telford in the teams above us playing we could replace Harrogate in the play off spots.
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