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Match Preview :- Barrow - Saturday January 27th, 2007 (15:00:00)
On Saturday (kick off 3pm) Barrow will be looking to leapfrog Celtic in this match, capitalising on a recent turn of good form. Being two points and one place behind Celtic, having played two games less, Barrow will feel confident, especially looking at Celtic?s recent home games that have see us lose our last three home games, and concede twelve goals in the process.

Barrow?s recent good form is a run of six games without defeat home and away, with away draws at Farsley and Workington and an away win at Lancaster mirroring a home draw with Vauxhall and home wins over Gainsborough and Lancaster. Hopefully Barrow will find Celtic a more tricky opponent than Lancaster though, and Celtic can avenge the 2-1 defeat at Holker Street earlier in the season in which Kevin Parr was dismissed and conceded a penalty.

Celtic have a phenomenal scoring record this season, and have scored almost twice as many as Saturday?s visitors, but it?s the defence where Celtic are weak, conceding over fifty goals whilst Barrow have the league?s fourth best defence, having conceded twenty-eight (the same as they have scored). A great defence is hardly surprising, given Phil Wilson?s managerial style, but they would have been hoping for a little more bite up-front. Barrow?s away scoring record is 1.1 per game (1.2 overall), whilst conceding they are at 1.4 per game (1.2 overall). The goals are coming from Andrew Bond and Tom Pope, who both have five goals apiece, not enough to appear in the top forty of the Golden Boot league. If the league table were ordered by goals scored, Barrow would be just outside the relegation zone with only Lancaster (nineteen), Leigh (twenty-five), Scarborough and Gainsborough (both on twenty-seven) below them. Indeed, between Lee Ellington, Mark Hume and Steve Brodie, they have scored more goals than the entire Barrow team. Thus this game will be about a team that cannot score against a team that cannot defend.

Barrow?s most dangerous period is definitely in the last quarter of an hour, with just under half of their goals scored in this period. Defensively they are weakest in the last twenty minutes with a third of their goals conceded in this period.

Both teams have taken steps to remedy their deficiencies with Celtic bringing in Luke Foster and Barrow bringing in loan signing Matt Bailey from Crewe Alexandra for a month (up to three if both parties agree). Also joining Barrow recently is Colin Potts from Altrincham, a player many will remember from his stint here at Celtic. Potts scored both of Barrow?s goals in their recent 2-0 win over Fleetwood in a local cup competition. With no apparent injury worries, though they were unable to field a full subs bench in their last match, the 0-0 home draw with Vauxhall, and lined up as:
1: Ashley Timms
2: Michael Eckersley
3: Darren Sheridan
4: Andrew Bond
5: Stuart Howson
6: Paul Jones
7: Steve Flitcroft
8: David Bayliss
9: Matt Bailey
10: Nick Rogan
11: Paul Brown

Celtic?s woes continue. With the long term absentees of Mark Haran and Steve Smith through injury, we will also be without Grant Black and Paul Sykes, the former serving the first of a two match ban for his red card against Hyde, the latter serving a one match ban for an accumulation of cautions. In our last match, the 3-1 win over Leigh, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Luke Foster
6. Ashley Winn
7. Steve Brodie
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. Dominic Krief
Changes will definitely have to be made, and it may well be Ben Smith who comes into the right back role, as Kevin Parr may well be put in the centre of midfield to take the place of Paul Sykes (he did his stint at right back against Barrow).

The automated prediction algorithm has this game pegged at 1-1. Celtic will need to continue their mini-revival if that is to change for the positive, and a positive result is what Celtic need to put a little space between them and the drop zone, as a win for the visitors will put at least one team above us.
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