On Saturday, Celtic travel to Harrogate Town for the re-arranged Conference North match (kick off 3pm). Harrogate are currently propping up the bottom of the Blue Square North table fourteen places and twenty points behind Celtic in twenty-second on twenty-two points having played two games more. There will be a live match centre for this game and there will be a supporters coach.
Harrogate are currently eight points from safety having won six times all season and drawn four. They did their relegation survival hopes the world of good when they beat Gainsborough (at home) and Vauxhall (away) recently, as these two teams share the bottom three with Harrogate. Their most recent match was a 309 home defeat at the hands of Telford. Having not played many home games since the end of October (four), their first away win of the season at Vauxhall must have come as something of a relief. In their last five home matches, they have lost to Telford, Alfreton and Ilkeston, and beaten Gainsborough and Hinckley. Their home record overall is won five, lost six and drawn 1, which is by no means the worst in the league, they lie fifteenth in the home form table, having taken forty-four percent of the available points since the start of the season, only one place behind Celtic, who have taken forty-eight percent.
Our last meeting with Harrogate was January 2009, when we visited there and won 1-0 to gain revenge for the 3-1 defeat we suffered at Bower Fold. In the last twenty years, that is our only win at Wetherby Road, and we have lost five of our last seven visits there. In our last five visits, the solitary goal is the only goal we?ve scored against them, the only other time we scored was a 4-3 defeat there back in 2004.
Harrogate?s top scorer this season is Rory Coleman, who has found the net five times, but was only a loan player (from Scunthorpe). The race for the Golden Boot at Harrogate currently has three players on three goals each: Brian Dutton, Trevor Benjamin and Peter Knox. Harrogate haven?t scored many this season (only Workington have scored fewer goals), with ten of their twenty-eight goals coming around the seventy minute mark, and eleven in the whole of the first half. They do hold it tight in the first half, with nineteen of their conceded fifty-one goals this season coming in the first half, whilst their most vulnerable period is around the hour mark, where they have conceded seventeen. On average, they score a goal per game overall, but 1.3 at home; whilst they concede 1.8 goals per game and 1.6 at home. They have kept three clean sheets (all at home) against Vauxhall and Hyde back in August, and most recently, Gainsborough. Harrogate have drawn a blank in twelve games this season, five of them at home.
Harrogate will be without Peter Knox who picked up a red card in Harrogate?s 2-0 home win over Gainsborough, and Martin Foster, who was sent off in their 3-1 away defeat at Alfreton. However, they have signed Tom Cahill on loan from Fleetwood Town for a month. In their last match, Harrogate lined up as:
1. Aaron Ratchford
2. Jon Maloney
3. Craig James
4. Simon Harrison
5. Matt Bloomer
6. Simon Sturdy
7. Adam Nowakowski
8. Richard Dunning
9. Peter Knox
10. Simon Yeo
11. Ben Muirhead
Celtic will be without Steve Woods, who is serving the second of his three match ban, though Matty Barlow will be available for selection again. In Celtic?s last match, the 2-1 home victory over Gainsborough Trinity, Celtic lined up as:
1. Dave Carnell
2. Richard Battersby
3. Andy Smart
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Warren Peyton
6. John Hardiker
7. Dave Hankin
8. Michael Carr
9. Joe O?Neill
10. Jody Banim
11. Lee Dodgson
The automated prediction algorithm is predicting a continuation in our return to winning ways, with a 4-2 win. Such a win could lift us to within a point of the play-off spots with games in hand, whilst a loss could see either Northwich or Workington overtake us, meaning we could be either sixth or tenth.
Other games this Saturday:
AFC Telford United (45pts 7th) v Solihull Moors (38pts 13th)
Alfreton Town (51pts 4th) v Gloucester City (30pts 18th)
Blyth Spartans (37pts 14th) v Northwich Victoria (40pts 9th)
Corby Town (39pts 12th) v Vauxhall Motors (27pts 20th)
Eastwood Town (45pts 6th) v Stafford Rangers (34pts 16th)
Hinckley United (52pts 3rd) v Fleetwood Town (66pts 1st)
Hyde United (30pts 19th) v Droylsden (46pts 5th)
Redditch United (32pts 17th) v Ilkeston Town (39pts 11th)
Southport (61pts 2nd) v Gainsborough (26pts 21st)