Match Preview :- Worcester City - Saturday March 18th, 2006 (3:00PM)
One of Celtic?s longer away trips comes this Saturday as we travel south to visit Worcester City (kick off 3pm). Worcester are currently tenth in the table, two places behind Celtic on goal difference, being level on points having played three games more.

We?ve not played Worcester yet this season, thanks to our Trophy run, so this is almost a double header. Last season both teams won their home games, with Celtic putting in a great performance at Worcester, but failing to take anything from the game.

Last season Worcester mounted something of a late surge up the table narrowly missing out on a play off spot, and it looks like they are attempting the same feat again. After a poor start to the campaign that saw them hover around the relegation spots, they have started picking up points and have surged up the table. Worcester picked up three wins in 2005, all at home, against Gainsborough, Barrow and Hednesford. The latter being a particularly impressive 6-2 win. They also had seven losses in this period, meaning that they picked up just sixteen points from a possible fifty one points in 2005.

The start of the year saw their fortunes pick up, and they have only had three losses in 2006, gaining eight wins and picking up twenty-nine points from an available forty-eight. They have struggled to score goals this season, failing to score in eleven matches, though their defence has been pretty solid keeping eleven clean sheets. They have lost just one and drawn two out of their last six home matches, though their last home game, against Moor Green saw them suffer a 2-0 loss. Worcester?s defensive record is the third best in the league and they have conceded just thirty-five goals all season.

Part of the reason for their resurgence this season, and possibly the reason for their recent loss, is the arrival of Mark Danks. Danks was suspended the games against Nuneaton and Vauxhall and Worcester failed to score. In the games he has played, he has scored nine goals in eleven games. A great return, and one that has propelled him to the top of Worcester?s goal scoring chart, ahead of last season?s hot-shot Adam Webster (who?s on eight), and ex-Celtic front man Leon Kelly (who?s on five). In the short while he?s been at Worcester, Danks has risen up the league golden boot chart and now sits in joint nineteenth along side Paul Sykes. Our own top scorer, Lee Ellington has dropped to joint third (with Terry Fearns who appears to be going for another golden boot award, despite his late start).

At home then, they are conceding only 0.9 goals per game (1.1 overall), whilst scoring 1.2 goals per game (1.2 overall). Most of their scoring is done in the first half, with twelve of their thirty-eight goals scored in the fifteen minutes leading up to half time. They have conceded ten in the same period, and it?s also their weakest spot, though they concede roughly equally between the two halves. They have not conceded an early goal all season.

Worcester have taken all six points off Gainsborough and Barrow this season, but nobody has yet taken all six points off them. Thanks to some good away performances, January and February have been their best months, where they were the form team. Given Celtic?s poor away form this season, the automated prediction algorithm is going for a 2-1 win for Worcester, and unless Celtic can put in a performance like those at Northwich and Stafford, it will be a loss for the Blues. A performance like those, however, should see Celtic take three points home. Moor Green have proven only recently that Worcester can be beaten at home. They also managed to keep Danks quiet.

In their last match, the Moor Green loss, Worcester lined up as:
1. Danny McDonnell
2. Rob Warner
3. Adam Burley
4. Chris Smith
5. Justin Thompson
6. Des Lyttle
7. George Clegg
8. Nick Colley
9. Mark Danks
10. Leon Kelly
11. Tom Warmer

In Celtic?s recent 2-0 loss in the Cheshire Senior Cup final against Witton Albion, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Steve Garvey
8. Barrie Keeling
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince

Celtic haven?t won away from home in 2006, the last away win (and one of only three all season), was at Hyde on Boxing Day. If Celtic want to mount a serious assault on the play off spots, it is the away games where we need to start picking up points, as our home form is excellent. Paul Sykes will be back for the Worcester game; hopefully his presence will make the difference in our away performance compared to the cup final game. A win, coupled with the right results in the Harrogate v Alfreton and Stafford v Droylsden could put a play off spot back into reach; a loss coupled with the wrong results could put the play off spots out of reach, even with our home record.
Directions
Distance: 108
Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

From the M67 join the M60 towards Stockport.
After 7 miles, leave the M60 at Junction 4 (Chester, M6) to join the M56 Stay on the M56 for 7 miles, coming off at junction 7 (Northwich, M6) to join the A556.
The roundabout can be avoided by using the slip road.
Stay on the A556 for 5 miles to the roundabout with the M6.
Join the M6 southbound (Birmingham) avoiding the roundabout by using the slip road.
Stay on the M6 for 64 miles to junction 8 (M5, the South).
Join the M5.
Stay on the M5 for 13 miles to junction 4 (A38, Bromsgrove).
Take the second exit onto Halesowen Road (A38).
Stay on the A38 for 3 miles to a set of lights with Birmingham Road (signposted Bromsgrove North / Minor Injuries Unit).
Turn right here using the filter lane.
The club is on the right after about a mile.

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