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Match Preview :- Workington - Saturday August 18th, 2012 (15:00:00)

Celtic get their season under way on Saturday with a long trip north to Workington AFC (Kick off 3pm). Workington finished last season thirteenth with fifty points, nineteen points and eleven places behind Celtic, who finished sixth. Both sides will be looking to get their season under way with a win. There will be a match centre for this game.

After struggling early last season, Workington were dangerously close to the relegation battle going into March, but a strong performance that saw them finish the season unbeaten in the last eight games saw them pull safe to mid-table. Gareth Arnison finished the season as Workington's top scorer with eleven goals, with Jonny Wright his closest rival on nine. They scored equally between the two halves, but conceded most heavily in the last half an hour. They scored an average of 1.3 goals a game (1.5 at home), and conceded 1.4 goals per game (1.3 at home).

Last season, the meetings between the two teams saw the away team take the points, with Celtic winning 5-2 at Workington, and Workington winning 3-1 at Bower Fold. Workington's last victory over us at Borough Park was in February 2010, which finished 1-0. Celtic's best result there was the season before last when we won 5-0 in November. Celtic have won three of their last four visits ending a long run of five years without a win at Borough Park.

Workington have some injury worries ahead of the match and are operating on a wafer thin squad. Jonny and Anthony Wright are both struggling, whilst Dan Wordsworth, Ryan Hall and Dave Hewson all remain extremely doubtful. Lee Andrews is playing, but needs an operation for a hernia. They have retained their top three scorers Arnison, Wright and McLuckie, but McNiven has left for pastures new. In their final friendly, they lined up as:
1. Aaran Taylor
2. Niall Cowperthwaite
3. Gari Rowntree
4. Kyle May
5. Lee Andrews
6. Mark Sloan
7. Phil McLuckie
8. Mark Boyd
9. Wayne Curtis
10. Gareth Arnison
11. Martin Brittain

Celtic will be definitely without Callum Warburton, whose suspension from the end of last season is carried over. Additionally, Celtic have lost all three of last season's main goal scorers, with Craig Hobson going to Stockport, Phil Marsh to Forest Green and Connor Jennings, who left in January for Scunthorpe. Injury wise, Celtic have come through pre-season relatively unscathed. Additionally, Celtic have strengthened with goalkeeping signing Andy Ralph and defenders Jonny Lindsay and Sam Egerton. Midfield has a strong contention for places with Jordan Barrow, Adam Pepper, Corey Gregory and Jamie Mullan all ready to go. In Celtic's final friendly match, we lined up as:
1. Andy Ralph
2. Joel Bembo-Leta
3. Jonny Lindsay
4. Tim Ryan
5. Sam Egerton
6. Jordan Barrow
7. Adam Pepper
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Jack Laird
10. Corey Gregory
11. Mitchell Austin

With players like Kristian Plat, Mark Lees and Jamie Mullan all set to come back for the match, there will be a selection headache for Jim Harvey as he takes his young team up the M6 for the season opener.

Distance: 157
Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

From the M60, take M61 (junction 15) to Preston.
Follow the M61 right to the end and join the M6 towards South Lakes.
After about 65 miles on the M6 take Junction 40 onto the A66 (Penrith, North Lakes).
On the roundabout at the end of the slip-road, turn left (exit 1 of 4) onto the A66.
Stay on the A66 for 37 miles (going straight across 4 roundabouts) to a t-junction with the A596 (Bridge Street).
At the roundabout, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A596 (Bridge Street).
After a mile, at the roundabout, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto A597 (Hill Crest), cross the bridge and the ground is on the left.

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