Match Preview :- Workington - Saturday March 8th, 2008 (3:00PM)
Celtic have the first of their pair of home matches on Saturday when Workington are the visitors for a 3pm kick off. Workington are currently seventeenth in the table, thirteen places and twenty-four points behind Celtic, having played two games less. There will be a live match event centre for this match.

Workington started the season well, with a seven game unbeaten run that lifted them to fourth. Since then, they have won just four matches in their last twenty matches, and have plummeted to their current seventeenth spot, ten points clear of the drop zone. In their last six matches, they have won one and lost five, the win coming at home to Tamworth, whom they thumped 5-0, to end a three game goal drought.

We have met Workington twice this season, and on both occasions have come out second best. Workington dumped us from the FA Cup with a humiliating 5-0 defeat that Celtic will be anxious to avenge. The previous league encounter up at Brough Park was a 1-0 win for Workington, after a deflected goal from Graham Anthony gave the Reds an unwarranted second half lead. The result lends weight to the fact that Workington are a bit of a bogey side for Celtic, with our last victory over them in the 05/06 season when we took all six points off them; they have put us out of the FA Cup three times, after twice holding us to draws at Bower Fold and finishing us off at Brough Park. Our only other victory over them was in the President?s Cup in 2002, when we beat them 4-1.

Workington?s top scorer this season is Johnny Wright, who has found the net ten times this season, with Michael Reed and Matthew Berkley his closest rivals on six apiece. On average, Workington score 1.4 goals per game (both home and away), whilst conceding 1.7 goals per game away (1.4 overall). The score their first on 40 minutes, and concede their first on 43 minutes. Their most vulnerable period is the last ten minutes, when they have conceded nine of their forty-one goals. With nine of their forty goals scored around the hour mark, this is their most dangerous period. They have kept two clean sheets on the road this season (Burscough and Blyth), and have failed to find the net in five away matches, the most recent of which was their 2-0 loss at Redditch.

Workington will definitely be without captain Kyle May, who is suspended for an accumulation of cautions. Michael Reed is an injury doubt for the Reds, though they have Dan Kirkup on loan from Carlisle to replace him in midfield. In their last match, the 2-1 home defeat to Gainsborough, Workington lined up as:
1. Adam Collin
2. Lee Andrews
3. Gari Rowntree
4. Kyle May
5. Dan Kirkup
6. Craig Johnston
7. Graham Anthony
8. Tony Hopper
9. Matthew Berkeley
10. Johnny Wright
11. Anthony Wright

Celtic will be without Paul Sykes, who will be completing the second game of his two match ban for his accumulated cautions, whilst Steve Payne was back from injury (in time to score the winner at Blyth). Barrie Keeling is not far off returning, and will have a fitness test ahead of the match. In Celtic?s last match, the 1-0 win away at Blyth, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paddy Gamble
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Andy Smart
4. Steve Payne
5. Terry Barwick
6. Garry Burke
7. Steve Torpey
8. Simon Garner
9. Chris Hall
10. Matty Barlow
11. Alex Meechan

Celtic?s run of three away wins on the trot, conceding no goals and scoring seven must now be translated into some home wins. With five of our last seven home games against bottom strugglers, Celtic need to out play them and take as many points as possible to stay in the top five. Our away form has propelled us into the play-off spots, our home form must now improve and keep us there. Though we have not won at home since beating Harrogate on the 12th of January, the squad has the ability to push on and make our home form match our away form.

The automated prediction algorithm has a narrow Celtic win at 3-2. Indeed, the automated prediction algorithm has us winning every game until the end of the season with the exception of the visit of Telford. With the predicted cut-off for the play-off spots being 74 points this season, we need to find sixteen points, which given our current form could see us accrue that with six home wins.
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