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Match Preview :- Leigh Genesis - Saturday January 21st, 2006 (15:00:00)
It?s back to League action on Saturday as Leigh RMI are the visitors with a 3pm kick off. Leigh are currently just outside the relegation spots having plummeted down the table following a run of 11 games without a win. They currently stand at eighteenth seven places and nine points behind Celtic.

The festive period was kind to the Railway men, and they earned nine points out of four games, beating Hucknall, Harrogate and Redditch. All three of these games, however, were at home, and their last away win was way back in the first game of the season, when they beat Redditch. Indeed, their last points away from home came mid-November when they drew with Hyde 3-3. Their last two games have seen them take two losses, with both Lancaster (home) and Droylsden (away) beating them.

Leigh have failed to score in seven of their games this season, three of which were away. They have kept two clean sheets, both at home, thus conceding in every away match this season. Away from home, Leigh score an average of 1.3 goals per game, conceding 2.7, scoring fourteen, conceding thirty over eleven away games.

Celtic have never beaten Leigh, the best we have managed in the league was a 4-4 draw back in 1999; a game notable for the fact that Celtic were leading 4-1. We did advance in the Trophy at their expense two seasons ago when they fielded an illegible player (their keeper was, according to the FA, still in America), but the game itself finished 1-1. The game earlier in the season at their ground saw Celtic scuff their way into a 1-0 lead, only for Andy Roscoe to equalise at the start of stoppage time and Chris Simms grab the winner four minutes later.

Chris Simms is Leigh?s top scorer with ten league goals (four of which scored away from home), whilst ex-Celt Scott Willis has made an impact in his short time in Lancashire racing into joint second spot with four, level with Ryan McDowell (who got Leigh?s only goal in their 4-1 loss at Droylsden last Saturday). Leigh?s most prolific period is in the final few minutes of a game (don?t we know it!), with six in the last ten minutes. They also concede quite heavily during this period, with ten slotted past the keeper. Hitting them hard from the off also appears to be a good idea, and in the opening twenty minutes they have scored five, but conceded nine.

As far as can be determined, Leigh RMI will have a full squad to pick from ahead of the match. In their last match, the 4-1 loss away at Droylsden, they lined up as:
1. John Lamb
2. Mike Harris
3. Steve Settle
4. Tony Dunne
5. Kevin Gibbins
6. Scott Willis
7. Gareth Stoker
8. Ian Taylor
9. Ryan McDowell
10. Chris Simms
11. Adam Girdlestone

Jody Banim limped off against Crewe in the Cheshire Senior Cup match on Tuesday night, and new signing Garry Kharas will be unavailable due to a red card picked up for Glossop (for swearing, apparently). Back, though, from his red card suspension will be Chris Price.

In Celtic?s last match, the 1-0 win over Crewe, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Ben Smith
7. Jody Banim
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Phil Eastwood
11. Neil Prince

The automated prediction algorithm goes for a goal-fest of a scoreline, with 4-3 to Celtic. This is down to Leigh?s away record being the worst in the league. Celtic?s lack of wins against Leigh have to end sometime (witness the Hyde win over Celtic at the start of the year), Saturday would be as good a time as any, and could propel us back up to sixth in the table (if other results go our way) with games in hand on a couple of the teams in the promotion spots. However, in our last five home matches, we have won only one, back in mid-November when we beat Hucknall 2-1, and drawn two, losing the other two to Hyde and Stafford. Hopefully the two recent cup victories will buoy the confidence and get Celtic back into a league winning streak.
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