Match Preview :- Hinckley United - Monday February 25th, 2008 (7:45PM)
Celtic travel to the midlands on Monday for a clash with a Hinckley United team battling against relegation (kick off 7.45pm), on paper this should be a banker, but as Celtic well know, teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives and they will provide a stern test. There should be a Live Match Event viewer for this match.

Hinckley are currently 20th, three points from safety, twenty-eight points and thirteen places behind Celtic, having played a game more. They hold the unenviable record in the league of the most games without a win, currently standing at fourteen. This was their opening fourteen games, and it left them adrift in the relegation zone almost from day one. After briefly touching bottom, Hinckley pulled themselves to within three points of safety, with Celtic ironically doing them a favour by beating relegation rivals Hucknall only two days prior to the match.

Celtic?s away form is the best in the league, earning 83% of the points available over the last six games, whilst Hinckley?s home form is only just better than Hucknall?s, earning 16% of the available points over the last six home games. That came courtesy of a home win over Alfreton Town at the start of February. Hinckley have won just twice more at home (beating Burscough and Workington), and twice away from home (beating Barrow and Solihull). With all this taken into account, the Automated Prediction Algorithm is suggesting a 3-1 win for Celtic on Monday night. Such a win would propel Celtic back into the play-off places, just a point behind Southport. So both teams have a lot to play for.

Our previous meeting with Hinckley this season was back in September, when we beat them at Bower Fold 2-1. Our record against Hinckley is actually quite good, although they beat us 2-0 in their first visit to Bower Fold, they?ve never beaten us since, though five of the last nine have been draws. We?ve beaten them twice at the Marston Stadium, once in the league, and then a month later in the FA Trophy so Celtic progressed at their expense.

Hinckley have kept six clean sheets this season (four of them at home), and drawn a blank in eight (five of them at home). They?ve scored just fifteen goals at home, which is the least number of goals scored at home by any team in the league. By contrast, Celtic have scored thirty-three away goals this season, the most by any team in the league, and if the league was scored on away wins only, Celtic would be top.

Hinckley?s top scorer changed hands on Saturday when Gez Murphy returned to fitness to grab two goals in their 3-2 defeat at home to Southport. His five goals put him one ahead of close rivals for the golden boot Colin Marrison and Kyle Storer, both of whom have four. Hinckley?s most dangerous period is the twenty minute mark, when they?ve scored six; whilst their most vulnerable is the first fifteen minutes of each half, when they have conceded thirteen in the first half and fourteen in the second. On average, they score 0.9 goals per game at home (1.1 overall) and concede 1.4 (1.8 overall). They score on average in the forty-second minute and concede in the forty fourth minute.

Hinckley?s last match was a 3-2 defeat at home to Southport, despite leading twice. Kyle Storer will likely be missing with a knee problem, whilst Owen Storer may be brought back; also Leon Kelly and Richard Lavery are set for imminent returns and may well feature in Monday?s match. In the Southport match, Hinckley lined up as:
1. Sean Bowles
2. Tom Bonner
3. Nick Platenauer
4. Rico Richards
5. Charlie O?Loughlin
6. Michael Byron
7. Billy McKay
8. Leon Jackson
9. Gez Murphy
10. Brian Quailey
11. Callum Lloyd

Both Barrie Keeling and Steve Payne are set for imminent returns to the Celtic squad, whilst new signing Steve Torpey may find the pitch at Hinckley better suited to his talents than Hucknall?s was. In Celtic?s last match, the 3-0 win over Hucknall, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paddy Gamble
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Andy Smart
4. Garry Burke
5. Terry Barwick
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Torpey
8. Ashley Winn
9. Chris Hall
10. James Dean
11. Alex Meechan

Make no mistake, Hinckley are not a team there for the taking; they have everything to play for and will be gunning for a win. Celtic are going to have to be at their very best to get into the play offs against what will be a determined Hinckley outfit.
Directions
Distance: 114
Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Head up Mottram Road towards Mottram.
Join Mottram Road towards Hollingworth.
At the traffic lights with the A57 Woolly Lane towards Glossop, continue straight ahead towards Hollingworth and Tintwistle.
After the lights the road becomes the A628.
Stay on the A628 and it will become the Woodhead pass.
After about 14 miles, you will reach the Flouch roundabout.
Turn right (exit 3 of 4) to join the A616 (signposted M1).
After 9 miles you will reach another roundabout, go straight across (exit 3 of 5) to stay on the A616.
After 1 1/2 miles you will reach the M1.
Join the M1 going southbound towards London.
Stay on the M1 for 71 miles to junction 21 (Coventry, M69).
Join the M69.
Stay on the M69 for 10 miles to junction 1 (Nuneaton).
At the roundabout at the end of the slip road, turn right (exit 4 of 6) onto the A5 towards Hinckley.
Stay on the A5 for 2 1/2 miles to a roundabout with the A447 (Dodwells Road).
At the roundabout, turn right (exit 2 of 4) onto the A447 (Dodwells Road) towards Earl Shilton.
Stay on the A447 for 4 miles straight across three roundabouts to a fourth roundabout with the B4668 (Leicester Road).
Turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto Leicester Road.
The ground is 200 yards on the right.

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