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Match Preview :- Hinckley United - Saturday January 15th, 2005 (15:00:00)
It is another crucial league game this Saturday when Hinckley United will be the visitors in the first ever meeting between these two teams. This game was postponed originally due to Hinckley?s heroics in the FA Cup when they eventually succumbed to Brentford in a replay after beating Torquay along the way.

Hinckley started the season on a flyer, topping the league at one point, but this was an apex as they plummeted after this, dropping as low as fifteenth. They won their last game against Moor Green, though, and this has raised them to twelfth, such is the tightness of the league this season. Celtic are aiming to make this a blip, and once more let Hinckley taste defeat as Celtic continue to attempt to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

Hinckley have scored in all of their last six games, with eight goals for, but nine goals against, with draws against Lancaster and Gainsborough, but wins against Moor Green and Nuneaton and losses against Redditch and Kettering. In their last ten games, they have won twice and earned five draws, and have only failed to score four times all seasons, and kept five clean sheets, Their away goals scored to conceded ratio is 1.3 to 1.2, which is close enough to indicate the number of draws that they?ve had this season.

Their top scorer is Paul Barnes, with eleven goals ? a figure that puts him joint fifth in the league?s Golden Boot league. He is streets ahead of his nearest rival, Jamie Lenton (four goals), and scores mainly in the opening quarter of an hour and the last five minutes. This makes Hinckley?s most dangerous periods the start and the end of the game. Their weakest point is half way through the second half, where they have conceded a quarter of all their goals this season.

Celtic won their last game against Vauxhall, and hopes are high that this winning feeling can continue. Hopes of playing the National Conference Cup midweek to give a run out to Phil Eastwood and Gregg Pearce were dashed thanks to the weather. Thanks to this cancellation, both teams are coming into the game with a win under their belts, and confidence returning. Celtic are going to have to overcome the memories of their 7 game run of defeats which proceeded that game, and continue to play the better football that won them the game at Vauxhall.

Celtic?s goal scored to conceded ratio at home this season reflects their poor results, at 1.7 to 2.4. Unbelievably, in our last three home games, we?ve won one of them, and the two losses were to table toppers Harrogate and Southport. This is down to the fact that we?ve played only 3 home games since the start of October. In our last ten games, we?ve failed to scorer three times, and we have kept only one clean sheet all season (away at Droylsden).

There are currently ten places and seventeen points between the two teams

Hinckley?s main injury worry is Jamie Lenton, who suffered a hamstring problem against Gainsborough in December. Hinckley?s last line up was:
1. Whittle
2. Neil Cartwright
3. Brad Piercewright
4. Richard Lavery
5. Adam Willis
6. Danny Pitham
7. Stuart Storer
8. Wayne Dyer
9. Colin Marrison
10. Paul Barnes
11. John Burns

Celtic will probably have Phil Eastwood, Gregg Pearce and Craig Dootson on the bench, as the trio return to full fitness. Still a fortnight off is Dean Calcutt (cracked rib), Danny Caldecott (ankle ligaments), and still further away is Chris Denham (cracked tibia). However, the injury crisis is easing somewhat.

Celtic?s last team was:
1. Phil Priestley
2. Dave German
3. Tony Whealing
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Bowker
6. Lincoln Adams
7. Scott Bonsall
8. Kev Parr
9. Andy Hayward
10. Phil Hadland
11. Nathan Wharton

Celtic really need the three points in this match, and are currently playing well enough to get it. However, this will be January?s toughest game and Celtic?s defence need to be on top of their game, because any mistakes will be punished.
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