On Saturday, Celtic are back at Bower Fold to host Colwyn Bay in the Blue Square Bet North (kick off 3pm). Colwyn Bay are currently tenth on thirty-eight points, eleven points and eight places behind Celtic having played a game more. There will be a live match centre for this game.
Colwyn Bay have had a solid first season in the Conference North, spending a week in the play-off spots after beating Gloucester away back in September. One win in seven games saw them fall to mid-table, where they have been ever since. Although three wins and a draw in their last four matches have seen them rise to their current position of tenth. They have won their last three away games, beating Altrincham 4-3 with a last minute winner from new signing Frank Sinclair, followed by 1-0 wins away at Eastwood Town and (most recently) at Worcester City. Colwyn Bay have not conceded a goal in three matches now.
Colwyn Bay have never taken so much as a point at Bower Fold, losing all six of their last six visits, and were also knocked out of the FA Cup here back in September. Their only win over Celtic was the last meeting between the two clubs earlier this season when they won 2-0 with goals at either end of the match. Our last win over Colwyn Bay at Bower Fold was in the President's Cup in January 2003 when we won 3-0 almost nine years ago to the day. Our last win over them in the league was back in August 2002 in the Northern Premier League, a game we won 3-1.
Colwyn Bay's top scorer this season is Rob Hopley with seven goals, with Danny Lloyd-McGoldrick and Jon Newby his closest rivals for the Colwyn Bay golden boot with five apiece. Bay's most dangerous period is around half time, when they have scored eleven of their thirty-four goals this season; their most vulnerable period is midway through the second half where they have conceded fourteen of their thirty-nine goals against this season. On average they score 1.3 goals per game and concede 1.5 (1.6 away from home). Colwyn Bay have the seventeenth best attack and the ninth best defence. Celtic have the seventh best defence, and the third best attack.
As well as signing Frank Sinclair, Colwyn have also signed Shelton Payne from Chorley. Ex-Blackburn player Payne was on-loan at Hyde until recently. Bay have no suspension problems ahead of the match, and the only injury doubt is player/manager Jon Newby. In their last match (excluding the 10-0 North Wales cup win over Blaenau Ffestiniog) away at Worcester that finished 1-0 to Colwyn Bay, they lined up as:
1. Chris Sanna
2. Luke Denson
3. Mike Lea
4. Matty Hughes
5. Frank Sinclair
6. John McKenna
7. Gareth Evans
8. Fraser McLachlan
9. Rob Hopley
10. Jon Newby
11. Shelton Payne
Celtic should have a full squad to choose from ahead of the game on Saturday. Celtic's last match, the unbelievable 5-5 draw away at Hinckley. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Jan Budtz
2. Joel Bembo-Leta
3. Andy McWilliams
4. Rhys Meynell
5. Kristian Platt
6. Jack Rea
7. Steve Brogan
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Craig Hobson
10. Lloyd Ellams
11. Nick Rogan
The automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 2-1 win for Colwyn Bay in this match, given that Celtic have not won for five games now, and have lost our last two home matches, whilst Colwyn Bay are on a bit of a run, and have won their last three away matches. However, Celtic were handed a major boost mid-week when Halifax and Guiseley both failed to capitalise on Celtic not playing with both drawing and failing to go above Celtic. Celtic now need to get back to winning ways to ensure that we stay above the pair who are now right on our heels.
With Halifax at home to Bishop's Stortford and Guiseley away at Histon, it is likely that both will win. Hyde have (as we found out) a tricky away tie at Solihull Moors.
Other games on Saturday:
Corby Town (39pts 8th) v Boston United (34pts 12th)
Droylsden (35pts 11th) v Blyth Spartans (15pts 21st)
FC Halifax Town (49pts 3rd) v Bishops Stortford (29pts 16th)
Gainsborough Trinity (45pts 5th) v Altrincham (44pts 7th)
Gloucester City (33pts 13th) v Eastwood Town (15pts 22nd)
Harrogate Town (29pts 17th) v Hinckley United (26pts 20th)
Histon (31pts 14th) v Guiseley (48pts 4th)
Nuneaton Town (44pts 6th) v Vauxhall Motors (27pts 19th)
Solihull Moors (30pts 15th) v Hyde (61pts 1st)
Workington (28pts 18th) v Worcester City (38pts 9th)