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Match Preview :- Redditch United - Saturday February 24th, 2007 (15:00:00)
The next visitors to Bower Fold (kick off 3pm) are Redditch, the team with the worst away record in the league (bar Lancaster). They are currently eight points and five places below Celtic, though they have played a game less. With Celtic having the worst home record in the league (bar Lancaster), this should be an entertaining open game, with the automated prediction algorithm going for a 3-2 win for Celtic.

Redditch have been in or around the drop zone for most of the season, with their high point being October, when they reached the dizzying heights of twelfth after a run of good wins. They have won just two games on the road all season, against Barrow and Hyde. They have managed three draws as well in their last ten away matches. The last meeting between the two sides was in December, when we beat them at their place. This kept up Celtic?s one hundred percent record against Redditch. In the last twenty years, at least, we have met six times, and won all six. This is good for Celtic, because we have lost our last four home games, a record five losses on the trot was set back in 1989, and we wouldn?t want to equal that.

Redditch?s main danger man is Simon Hollis who has nine goals this season, mainly at home. Right behind him is Carl Palmer who has seven. On average, away from home, Redditch score 1.2 goals per game (1.4 overall), conceding 1.6 per game (1.8 overall). Their most dangerous period is the last twenty minutes when they have scored thirteen of their forty goals this season, whilst they are most vulnerable in the same period, conceding seventeen of their forty-nine goals.

Though they lost their last game at home to Worcester midweek, they did get a very creditable home draw against Kettering, sharing eight goals, proving that given half a chance, they will hurt the opposition, so Celtic will have to dig deep into the confidence shown at Worcester that earned us our share of the spoils in our last match, the 1-1 draw.

Redditch have a new signing in striker Richard Ball, plucked from the lower leagues, and he scored on his debut against Kettering. In their last match, also against Worcester, Redditch lined up as:
1. Richard Antiss
2. Damien Whitcombe
3. Simon Rea
4. Exodus Geohaghon
5. Richard Softley
6. Robert Taylor
7. Richard Ball
8. Chris Murphy
9. Ashley Walker
10. Simon Hollis
11. Carl Palmer

Celtic will be without Ashley Winn for the match, who is serving the second game of his two match ban. It is also up in the air as to who will be playing in goals. With Paul Pettinger not travelling to Worcester, Celtic fielded Simon Bishop, the ex-Barrow goal keeper, but it may be Nick Buxton who also couldn?t travel to Worcester due to work commitments. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Simon Bishop
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mike Flynn
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Dominic Krief
7. Matty Barlow
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. James Olsen

It will be home debuts for Olsen and Barlow, should either play. A win for Celtic should put a good deal of distance between us and the drop zone, depending on how Leigh?s home match against Worcester goes, the gap could be as much as eight points. With us playing Leigh in a couple of weeks, it could be the psychological boost Celtic need to finally reach the top half of the table.
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