On Saturday, Celtic travel back down South for the third time, this time to face Corby Town. Corby are currently fifth in the Blue Square Bet North table on eighteen points, three places and seven points behind Celtic. There should be a match centre for this game.
Corby have had an inconsistent start this season, winning three of their five home games, and losing two. They most recently beat Blyth Spartans 4-0, having already beaten Eastwood 5-0 and Bishop's Stortford 6-1, indicating that when they are up against a team they can beat they go for it. All three of those teams are in the bottom five. In their two losses, they faced potential play-off teams Guiseley and Hyde, losing 1-0 to Guiseley and 4-0 to Hyde. Apart from a 1-0 loss at Gainsborough, Corby are unbeaten on the road, with three draws against Gloucester, Workington and Histon, and beating Worcester and Halifax.
Their free scoring home form sees them fifth in the top five attacks in the league with two goals a game giving them twenty-two goals this season, compared to the top attack in the league, us, with 2.73 goals per game giving thirty goals. Where Corby excel is in defence, conceding just ten so far this season, which is less than one a game, and puts them third in the top five defences. Their 6-1 win at home over Bishop's Stortford remains the league's highest home win and the league's highest aggregate score.
Our history with Corby does not make for pleasant reading, as they are one of the teams we have never managed to beat, with five meetings over recent times. Our two meetings last season saw us draw both, 1-1 at home and 2-2 at Corby's old ground. The season before saw Corby win 5-1 at their place in the league, and beat us twice at home, 3-1 in August 2009 and again 2-1 in the FA Trophy, knocking us out in January 2010.
Corby's top scorer this season is Matt Rheade, with five goals, but goals have been coming from all over the park, with Pail Malone and Nick Rogan both chipping in with six, and ten more goals coming from eight other players. With seven goals scored around the half hour mark, this is their most dangerous period, with the last ten minutes their weakest period with three goals conceded. On average, they score three goals a game at home (two overall) and concede 1.2 goals per game at home (0.9 overall). They have kept two clean sheets at home (and four overall) against Blyth and Eastwood. In their last six games they have conceded just twice - away at Workington and at home to Guiseley.
The automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 3-1 win for Celtic, with the prediction algorithm having more faith in Celtic's top attack than in Corby's top defence.
Corby are still in the FA Cup after last weekend, unlike Celtic who went out to Guiseley, they drew 1-1 away at Histon, with the game scheduled for tonight. They have to be favourites to progress though. This could take its toll on the Corby players ahead of the match and have a bearing on the outcome (especially if it goes to extra time and penalties), with Celtic's players not having a competitive match, concentrating on training instead.
Paul Mayo will be suspended for the clash on Saturday serving out a three match ban for his sending off against Gloucester in their 0-0 draw. In their last match, the 1-1 draw away at Histon in the FA Cup, Corby lined up as:
1. Chris Mackenzie
2. Delroy Gordon
3. Phil Gulliver
4. Tom Land
5. Paul Mayo
6. Andy Hall
7. Leon Hibbert
8. Steve Towers
9. Andy Burgess
10. Matt Rhead
11. Nick Rogan
Celtic have no suspensions ahead of the match, with the Kristian Platt having an ankle injury and missing the FA Cup clash against Guiseley, that finished 2-1 in Guiseley's favour. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Jan Budtz
2. Joel Bembo-Leta
3. Andy McWilliams
4. Rhys Meynell
5. Chris Lynch
6. Jack Rea
7. Steve Brogan
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Phil Marsh
10. Lloyd Ellams
11. Connor Jennings
Celtic will need to dig deep into their collective psyche ahead of what will probably be a tough match and put last Saturday behind them.
The other games on Saturday:
Altrincham (16pts 10th) v Boston United (17pts 8th)
Bishops Stortford (9pts 18th) v Gloucester City (13pts 14th)
Blyth Spartans (9pts 20th) v Worcester City (17pts 7th)
FC Halifax Town (14pts 13th) v Eastwood Town (9pts 19th)
Harrogate Town (15pts 11th) v Gainsborough Trinity (24pts 3rd)
Hinckley United (12pts 16th) v Colwyn Bay (17pts 16th)
Histon (12pts 15th) v Vauxhall Motors (10pts 17th)
Hyde (31pts 1st) v Nuneaton Town (17pts 6th)
Solihull Moors (7pts 22nd) v Droylsden (14pts 12th)
Workington (8pts 21st) v Guiseley (22pts 4th)
With Gainsborough facing a tough trip to Harrogate, and Hyde facing a potential banana skin in hosting Nuneaton, Celtic need a win over Corby to put some space between us and the chasing pack, and make up ground on Hyde.
Head away from Bower Fold towards Glossop.
At the traffic lights at the Glossop turning, continue straight to join the A628.
Stay on the A628 through Tintwistle to where it becomes the Woodhead Pass (if the Woodhead pass is closed, go across up to M62 and down the M1).
Stay on the A628 Woodhead Pass to the Flouch Roundabout (about 11 miles from Tintwistle).
Turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A616 (signposted for the M1).
After nine miles, there is a roundabout with the A61; continue straight across (exit 3 of 4) to stay on the A616 (signposted M1 Southbound).
After a mile join the M1 Southbound at junction 35a.
Stay on the M1 for 81 miles to junction 19 (M6/A14).
After 18 miles, join the A43 at junction 7.
At the roundabout turn left onto A6003 (Rockingham Road), after 6 miles and 2 roundabouts, turn right onto Rockingham Road, and the club car park is immediately on the right.