On Saturday, Celtic join the first round proper of the FA Trophy when we travel to Edgeley Park to face Conference National side, Stockport County (kick off 3pm). There will be a live match centre for this game.
Stockport are currently in the relegation spots in the National, with three wins in their last twenty-four games, sitting on nineteen points. After starting the season with one loss in eleven games, although there was only two wins in there, they were adjusting. However, in the later part of the season, County have lost five on the bounce, and their last win was a 2-0 win over Bath in mid-October. In their last five games, they have conceded thirteen goals, and scored twice, including a 7-0 drubbing away at Grimsby, who were getting revenge for the 2-0 reversal , which was the Hatter's last home win, back in mid-September.
We've met Stockport only once in competition, back in April 2001 when we beat them 5-1 (with the single goal a stoppage time consolation) in the Cheshire Senior Cup at Ewen Fields. Although Stockport's side was weakened, it contained several first team players. We have also beaten Stockport in a friendly at Bower Fold, thumping them 7-3 back in August 2000.
Stockport's top scorer this season is Nick Chadwick with seven goals. Tom Elliot is his closest rival on five. Around the hour mark is Stockport's most dangerous time, with eight of their twenty-six goals scored in this period, whilst the last quarter of an hour is their most vulnerable, with nine of their conceded forty-two goals occurring in this period. They score an average of a goal per game, and concede 1.8 goals per game. On the eight occasions that Stockport scored first in a match, they have won three and drawn four, losing only once. In all three of their wins, they have kept a clean sheet, and have failed to win any games in which the opposition score.
Stockport will be without Jameel Ible, who is suspended, but appear injury free. In their last match, the 1-0 home loss to Gateshead, Stockport lined up as:
1. Matt Glennon
2. Mark Lynch
3. Andy Halls
4. Danny O'Donnell
5. Euan Holden
6. Danny Rowe
7. Jon Routledge
8. Chris Blackburn
9. Sean McConville
10. Tom Elliott
11. Aaron Cole
Celtic are suspension free, and currently injury free. In Celtic's last match, the 3-1 away defeat to Gainsborough, 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. Arthur Gnahoua
11. Connor Jennings
With Stockport possibly looking towards safety in the Conference National, there is a chance that fringe players will take part for Stockport, who will have something to prove to get into the first team regularly. Stockport's higher league position and home advantage would suggest a home win, but the respective form of the two teams would suggest a cup upset is on the cards. This is reflected in the automatic prediction algorithm that is suggesting a 2-0 win for Celtic, and progress in the Trophy.
Take the M60 to junction 1 (Stockport).
At the roundabout at the end of the sliproad turn back on yourself (exit 5 of 6) onto the A5145 following signs for Stockport West.
At the next roundabout go across (exit 3 of 5) onto the A560 (King Street West).
After half a mile turn right at the roundabout (2 of 3) onto Mercian Way.
The ground is a third of a mile on the left.