Celtic are back at Bower Fold on Saturday with the weather looking good for their Conference North clash with Gainsborough Trinity (kick off 3pm ? there will be a live match centre for this match). Gainsborough are currently in eighth in the table, two places and four points behind Celtic having played five games more.
In their last five games, Trinity have won two and lost three, conceding eight and scoring three in the process. They have failed to score in three of those games, losing 5-0 at Workington in mid January. That drumming from Workington was not their only high scoring defeat, with Southport also putting five past them. Trinity?s best away result has been a 4-1 win over Alfreton, whilst their best home result was a 4-1 win over Redditch.
Our last meeting with Gainsborough earlier this season saw the game end tied at 3-3, thanks to some controversial refereeing decisions that saw Richard Battersby see red for his first challenge of the game, a contentious handball decision giving Gainsborough a penalty, and a very late equalising goal. We do have a good home record against Trinity, beating them 5-1 in their last visit to Bower Fold, with Gainsborough?s only win here being back in October 2006 when they won 2-0. In fifteen visits, Celtic have won eleven and drawn three. In sixteen visits to the Northolme, Celtic have won just three, the last win there a Trophy match back in November 1999 after Trinity held us to a 1-1 draw at Bower Fold.
Trinity?s top scorer this season is Lewis McMahon who has ten goals to his name, half of which have come from the penalty spot, putting him eighth in the goal scorers? chart. Indeed, Only Hyde have converted more spot kicks this season (six). In open play, Simon Bird and Luke Beckett are tied on eight apiece. They score an average of 1.7 goals per game away (1.5 overall), and concede 1.7 goals per game (1.4 overall). Of their forty-three goals this season, sixteen have come around the hour mark, making this their most dangerous period. Of their forty-one conceded goals, eighteen have come in the last quarter of an hour, making this their most vulnerable period.
Gainsborough have signed former Celtic winger Ashley Burbeary after his release from Droylsden, and he scored against Hinckley on Valentine?s Day. Gainsborough will be without Gareth Davies for the Celtic match, due serving the second game of his three match ban for a red card against Stafford. On the injury front, Liam Needham will be missing with an ankle injury. In their last match, the 2-0 win at Hinckley, Gainsborough lined up as:
1. Adam Sollitt
2. Ross Greenwood
3. Martin Drury
4. Neil Spafford
5. James Lukic
6. Danny Anson
7. Ryan Mallon
8. Ashley Burbeary
9. Luke Beckett
10. Lewis McMahon
11. Christopher Hall
Terry Barwick?s yellow card from the Stafford win is enough to trigger a one match ban, but this does not kick in until the away game at Redditch at the end of February. In that game, the 1-0 win away at Stafford, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Rhys Meynell
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Barwick
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Alex Meechan
10. Nathan Joynes
11. Andy Smart
The automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 3-2 win for Celtic, which would be a great way to gain revenge for the reverse fixture. Celtic have lost just two of their last ten matches, at home to Workington and away at Telford. However, we have won just twice at home, with five draws in our ten games. A good run of home games may help remedy this, as nobody in the league has played fewer home games than ourselves. Turning Bower Fold into a fortress would help propel us into a good position come the end of the season.
Other games on Saturday:
Alfreton Town (41pts, 7th) v Vauxhall Motors (33pts, 11th)
Blyth Spartans (22pts, 20th) v Burscough (21pts, 21st)
Droylsden (35pts, 10th) v Farsley Celtic (31pts, 15th)
Gateshead (53pts, 1st) v Hucknall Town (20pts, 22nd)
Redditch United (26pts, 18th) v King?s Lynn (32pts, 12th)
Solihull Moors (27pts, 17th) v Fleetwood Town (32pts, 13th)
Stafford Rangers (32pts, 14th) v Hyde United (25pts, 19th)
Tamworth (52pts, 2nd) v Workington (30pts, 16th)