Itís a home match for Celtic on Saturday (directions available elsewhere on the website) when we host fellow strugglers Altrincham in what has become a must win match for both teams. Kick-off is 3pm. There will be a match centre for this game.
Altrincham are currently one place and two points below Celtic in twenty-first on four points, having had four draws so far this season. They, and Bradford, are the only team yet to win this season. Although they have scored thirteen goals, four more than Celtic, they have the worst defence in the league, having conceded thirty-four at a rate of 2.8 per game (2.7 away)(, whilst scoring 1.1 per game (0.8 away). Their top scorer this season is James Lawrie, who has four, whilst perennial thorn in Celticís side, Damien Reeves, is on three for the season so far.
Altrincham have drawn twice on the road this season, both times finishing 2-2 at Halifax and Harrogate, which are credible draws, given the relative team positions. Both of those draws were their first two away games of the season, and since then, they have been beaten on the road by Gainsborough, Kidderminster, Gloucester and Nuneaton. Over that period, they have scored just one goal, Sean Miller with a goal in their 4-1 defeat Nuneaton. In the same games they have conceded twelve. They have lost three on the bounce, the most recent defeat a home loss to Boston, which finished 1-0.
The last time the two teams met competitively was in the Cheshire Senior Cup in March 2014, when Altrincham won, at Moss Lane, 2-1. They had already beaten us twice in the league that season, both times stuffing us 5-0. Celticís last win over Altrincham at Bower Fold was in October 2011, when we won 5-1. In their last twenty visits, Altrincham have won five, Celtic thirteen and there have been two draws.
There are a couple of familiar faces in the Altrincham team who should feature on Saturday: Former Celtic midfielder, Greg Wilkinson and former Celtic striker, Craig Hobson. They will be without Ashley Knowles and Josh Graham, both of whom are suspended for Saturdayís game. In Altrinchamís last match, the 1-0 defeat at home to Boston, they lined up as:
1. Andrew Dawber
2. Sam Patterson
3. John Cyrus
4. Alan Goodall
5. Josh Doherty
6. James Lawrie
7. Jake Moult
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Sean Miller
10. Damian Reeves
11. Craig Hobson
Sam Tatum is definitely out of the Altrincham match after being on the wrong end of a horror tackle in our last match away at Droylsden in the Manchester Premier Cup. Itís unlikely heíll feature again this season, with a compound fracture of the ankle. Celtic won that match, beating Droylsden 5-4 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at full time. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Sam Tatum
3. Danny Wisdom
4. Nick Ryan
5. Keil OíBrien
6. Brian Summerskill
7. Eddie Toner
8. Gary Gee
9. Sam Madeley
10. Danny Wilkins
11. Adam Mather
Something has to give on Saturday: Celtic have the second worst attack in the league (only Telford have scored fewer) and Altrincham the worst defence. Both teams are desperate for a win to get their seasons back on track. Celtic have a better home record than Altrinchamís away record, having won our last league game at home, when we beat Gainsborough Trinity 3-2 back at the start of September. We also won in our last match at Bower Fold, beating Witton 2-1 in the FA Cup at the end of September. A win for Celtic would not lift us out of the bottom three, but it would close the gap thatís forming between us and Curzon Ashton in nineteenth.
Other matches on Saturday:
Boston United (14pts 12th) v Worcester City (12pts 15th)
Brackley Town (20pts 9th) v Darlington (25pts 3rd)
Bradford Park Avenue (3pts 22nd) v AFC Telford (11pts 18th)
Chorley (23pts 5th) v Harrogate Town (27pts 2nd)
FC United of Manchester (11pts 17th) v Alfreton Town (13pts 14th)
Gainsborough Trinity (12pts 16th) v Tamworth (20pts 10th)
Gloucester City (21pts 7th) v FC Halifax Town (21pts 8th)
Kidderminster Harriers (24pts 4th) v AFC Fylde (30pts 1st)
Nuneaton Town (13pts 13th) v Curzon Ashton (10pts 19th)
Stockport County (18pts 11th) v Salford City (22pts 6th)