On Saturday Celtic travel to Redditch to face a team against whom Celtic have never lost in the Conference North clash (kick off 3pm ? there will be a Live Match Centre for this game). Redditch are currently five points clear of the relegation zone on twenty-nine points in seventeenth, ten places and fourteen points behind Celtic, having played a game more.
Redditch have had a poor season, with only seven wins and eight draws all campaign, although they have won their most recent match, a 2-0 win away at Hucknall. They have picked up just two points in their last six home matches, losing four, most recently a 2-1 defeat at the hands of King?s Lynn. Draws with Solihull and Alfreton are their only source of points in the last six. They have won two games at home all season, beating Blyth 2-0 back in October, and Farsley 3-1 back in August.
Our last meeting with Redditch was at the peak of their season when they drew 3-3 at Bower Fold thanks to loan signing Mark Rawle, ending a run of nine consecutive defeats at Celtic?s hands. Our last visit to the Valley Stadium was in October, when we beat them 2-0. In April in the last game of last season, when we hammered them 6-0, our best result over Redditch.
Redditch?s top scorers are currently Ryan Beswick and Lee Downes, both on four goals. Beswick?s four goals have come in the last four games, with the striker scoring a goal a game, which were enough to defeat Hucknall and Hyde, but insufficient to beat King?s Lynn and Fleetwood. They score an average of 0.9 goals per game at home (1.2 overall), whilst conceding 1.7 goals per game (home and away). Their most dangerous period is the hour mark, when seven of their thirty-three goals this season have come. Their most vulnerable period is just after half time, when they have conceded ten of their forty-six goals this season.
Redditch will be without the services of striker Jordan Smith who injured his shoulder against King?s Lynn. Many of the team that got the 3-3 draw at Bower Fold are no longer at Redditch, having moved on. In their last match, the 2-0 away defeat over Hucknall Town, Redditch lined up as:
1. Danny Lewis
2. Lucan Spittle
3. Asa Charlton
4. Michael Briscoe
5. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
6. Carl Heggs
7. Jack Byrne
8. Owen Story
9. Marvin Robinson
10. Mark Hands
11. Ryan Beswick
Celtic will be without Alex Meechan who returns to Altrincham at the end of his loan spell, Andy Smart who is to undergo an ankle operation and Terry Barwick, who will be serving a one match suspension for an accumulation of bookings. Lee Ellington and Nicky Platt are both doubtful ahead of the match, but are hoping to be fit. New signing Michael Bowler made his debut against Gateshead on Tuesday, coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 home defeat. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Andy Smart
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Barwick
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Alex Meechan
10. Matty Barlow
11. Richard Battersby
The automated prediction algorithm has taken into account Celtic?s away record and Redditch?s home record, and is suggesting a 4-2 win for Celtic on Saturday, which would be a welcome boost, but would not move Celtic up any places.
Other fixtures on Saturday:
Alfreton Town (47pts, 5th) v Blyth Spartans (22pts, 21st)
Burscough (24pts, 20th) v Stafford Rangers (35pts, 13th)
Fleetwood Town (36pts, 11th) v Droylsden (39pts, 10th)
Gateshead (27pts, 1st) v Vauxhall Motors (34pts, 14th)
Harrogate Town (47pts, 6th) v Hinckley United (39pts, 9th)
Hyde United (25pts, 19th) v AFC Telford United (51pts, 3rd)
King?s Lynn (35pts, 12th) v Hucknall Town (20pts, 22nd)
Solihull Moors (29pts, 18th) v Tamworth (58pts, 2nd)
Workington (31pts, 16th) v Southport (50pts, 4th)