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Match Preview :- Hucknall Town - Saturday November 19th, 2005 (15:00:00)
Hucknall Town are currently six points and five places ahead of Celtic in the league table in fourth, having played one less game. They are well and truly in the play-off spots and will be looking to increase the gap between them and sixth, so this will not be an easy match.

Add to this the fact that Celtic have not won a league match at Bower Fold since the start of October when we beat Harrogate Town, and lost our last home match to Stafford and Hucknall will be full of confidence coming into the match. Hucknall are coming on the back of a five game unbeaten streak that put them into fourth, including an exceedingly impressive win over Northwich Victoria. The last team to beat them away from home was Worksop Town who beat them 2-1. Since then, they held Kettering to a 0-0 draw at Rockingham Road, and beat Vauxhall Motors at Rivacre Park, also holding Hednesford to a 1-1 draw in their last away match.

Hucknall won the previous match, at home to Gainsborough Trinity, with an impressive 4-1 scoreline. Indeed, they have only failed to score in three games this season, and have kept four clean sheets. Previous meetings between the clubs have seen Celtic become something of a bogey for Hucknall, but only when the stakes were enormous for Celtic. They beat us at Hucknall last season, but we beat them in the return fixture in order to secure Conference North status this season. The season before they were champions of the Unibond, and we went to their gaff needing a win to get into the Conference North, and against all expectations, managed it. All in all, both teams have won four games apiece, and drawn twice (both at Hucknall).

Going off these facts, the automated prediction algorithm has gone for a 3-2 win for the visitors. Hopefully, the midweek win over league leaders Northwich in the Cheshire Senior Cup will have increased confidence in the Celtic squad, though, and this score line can be changed!

Robert Gill has found the net the most times for Hucknall, with seven goals this campaign (putting him seventh in the league goal-scorers table) ? and he scored in their recent win over Gainsborough. Tom Groves is his nearest rival on four goals. Hucknall have scored and conceded most of their goals this season in the second half, with just after the hour being their most prolific period, and around the 70 minute mark being their weakest point. They have not conceded a single league goal in the last ten minutes. Away from home, they score an average of 1.1 goals per game, whilst conceding 1.3.

Hucknall look to be at almost full strength coming into the game ? Rico Richards and Chris Davis are both unlikely to feature, but with Lee Ellington limping off against Northwich midweek, he is going to have to be looked at before a decision is made. Fortunately, Phil Eastwood is back to full fitness and has scored in two of his six substitute appearances.

In their win at home to Gainsborough, Hucknall lined up as:
1. James Lindley
2. Alistair Asher
3. Chris Beech
4. Phil Rowland
5. Gary Sucharewycz
6. Russell Cooke
7. Tom Groves
8. Steve Palmer
9. Mark Ward
10. Robert Gill
11. Leon McSweeney

In Celtic?s last league game, the loss away at Kettering, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Mark Barnard
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Tom Baker
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince

Celtic really need to take all three points in this game just to maintain contact with the play-off spots. A loss could see Celtic drop down as far as fourteenth, but a with a good win could lift us seventh, within striking distance of the play-offs again (depending how the other results go).
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