Tuesday night sees Celtic make the trip to Worksop Town in their continuing quest of cup glory in the inaugural GLS Conference Cup. Worksop are currently eleventh in the table, nine places above Celtic, but separated by only fourteen points. Though this deficit may be reduced to just four should Worksop face administration.
Having announced huge debts, Worksop are facing an uphill struggle off their field, and may have other things on their mind than the GLS cup. With the threat of a ten point deduction dragging them into the relegation mire, they may be concentrating on the league, allowing Celtic to grab an away victory. However, having had the announcement made prior to their last league match at home to Hinckley United, they seemed adept at putting it out of their minds as they demolished the visitors 3-1.
After a mediocre start to the season, they put together an impressive eleven game unbeaten run that took them to within a whisker of a table topping position, before they went through a barren spell with six games without a win that started a downward trend. Since then, they have hovered around the top part of midtable, just outside the play off spots.
They have got to this stage of the cup after beating Alfreton 1-0 away, Gainsborough 4-1 at home, and Kettering 2-1 away; all excellent victories against (at the time) in-form teams. If they are not taking this competition seriously, then they are giving a false impression!
So, they are quite free scoring in the GLS cup and the same is true in the league as well. In the past six games they have scored eleven goals. Defensively, they are not quite as strong, conceding eleven goals in the same period. They?ve not kept a clean sheet since the start of February when they had a 1-0 win away at Runcorn. They have failed to score only once recently, away at Lancaster.
Celtic have only played Worksop once this season, our opening game of the season when a disastrous second half performance allowed Townsend an opportunity to snatch a draw.
Gary Townsend is in fact, their top scorer; though he hasn?t scored since the end of February he has bagged twelve goals leaving him joint eighth in the goal-scorers league. Simeon Bambrook who has recently taken his place and got into goal scoring mood is rapidly catching him up with four goals in his last three appearances to leave him with eight goals.
Worksop are at their most dangerous on the hour and in the dying moments, scoring thirteen goals in just these two points. Most of their conceding is done in the second half, where there is only a slight spike around the hour mark, otherwise they concede quite evenly. At home they score an average of 1.7 goals per game, whilst conceding 1.1. This is why they have only been beaten five times at home out of the seventeen games played there. Their away form is the reverse, seeing them win only four out of seventeen.
Though both teams will be fielding weakened teams, against Hinckley, Worksop ran out as:
1. Kristian Rogers
2. Steve Nicholson
3. Kevin Davies
4. Brian O?Callaghan
5. Miles Thorpe
6. James Dudgeon
7. Torre Hanson
8. Paul Dempsey
9. Simeon Bambrook
10. Dene Cropper
11. Blake Norton
Celtic will be resting several players, including Craig Dootson who picked up a dead-leg against Lancaster. Against Lancaster, we ran out as:
1. Craig Dootson
2. Grant Black
3. Danny Caldecott
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Paul Sykes
6. Paul Shepherd
7. Steve Smith
8. Scott Bonsall
9. Andy Parton
10. Aron Wilford
11. Nathan Wharton
There may be a start for new signing Andy Haskins, to give the lad a run out, as there is a huge game for Celtic just four days later on Good Friday, when we host Runcorn in what could be termed as a relegation decider. Although this will be a tough game regardless of the teams put out, Celtic?s continued good form could see them win through against a distracted Worksop. We are now twelve games unbeaten we have won our last two games and beaten Halifax 7-3 to get here.
This game is too close to call, but I think Celtic?s mental attitude may just win the day.