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Match Preview :- Hucknall Town - Saturday March 24th, 2007 (13:00:00)
Saturday sees Celtic travel back across the Pennines for the second game in succession when we visit Hucknall Town (please note the kick off is 1pm). Hucknall are currently five points ahead of Celtic, sitting four places higher, despite Celtic having played a game less. This game advantage means that Celtic are playing yet another six pointer.

Hucknall have not won for five games now, and have won just three out of their last fifteen matches. This has seen them plummet from the play off spots to their current midtable position. Their last home win was a 5-0 thumping of Lancaster back in February, and though they drew their last match at home (2-2 against Droylsden), their previous two home matches saw them suffer defeat to Leigh (1-3) and Hinckley (1-2). They have taken five points from a possible eighteen over their last six home matches, which is the second worst in the league over this period (ahead of Lancaster). Celtic, in contrast, have not won in their last four away games, though we did take two draws. This puts us midtable over the last six away games.

We played Hucknall at Bower Fold early in the season, and drew 2-2. Hucknall have not had a good record against the Tameside teams this season, with Hyde doing the double over them, only getting a point off Droylsden, and only (so far!) getting a point of us. Our last two visits to Watnall Road have resulted in wins for the home side, Hucknall winning 2-1 last season. Our only win at Watnall Road was back in 2004, when we needed the win to scrape into the Conference North, and we got it thanks to a good defensive performance and a 3-1 score-line. It seems every time we go to Hucknall we are desperate for the win!

Hucknall?s current top scorer is Liam Hearns, whose fifteen goals put him fifth in the Golden boot league. Right behind him is Gary Ricketts, who has thirteen goals, putting him joint seventh in the league; Hucknall are one of the few teams with two scorers in the top twenty, Blyth and Worcester both achieving this, and Droylsden having three in there. Having two scorers in the top twenty suggests that Hucknall score a lot of goals, and that is correct ? they have the third best attack in the league, scoring sixty-three goals this season. Most of their goals come in the first half, with thirty-eight scored in this period. They are especially prolific just before half time, when they have found the net sixteen times. Most of their conceding is done in the second half, with thirty-seven of their sixty-one conceded goals coming in this period. As with ourselves, it?s not the goals for column that is the problem, it is the goals against.

At home Hucknall score an average of two goals per game (1.8 overall), whilst they concede 1.8 goals per game (1.7 overall). They have kept just two clean sheets all season, once against Lancaster, and once against Worksop (both games at home). They have failed to score in seven of their matches, the most recent being their last away game at Barrow. Only Alfreton and Farsley have shut them out on their own ground.

Hucknall have no suspension worries ahead of the game, and have recently signed a new striker, David Johnson who was recently released from Nottingham Forrest. Johnson scored the equaliser against Droylsden in their last match, the 2-2 home draw.

In that match, Hucknall lined up as:
1. Damien Beattie
2. Liam Powell
3. Andy Legg
4. Bobby Wilson
5. Russell Cooke
6. John Burns
7. Ricky Hanson
8. Paul Dempsey
9. Gary Ricketts
10. David Johnson
11. Michael Fox

Celtic will be without Kevin Parr, who is serving the second of his two match ban for the red card at Farsley. In our last match, the 2-0 loss at home to Harrogate, saw Celtic line up as:
1. Simon Bishop
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Paul Sykes
5. Mike Flynn
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Ashley Winn
8. Matty Barlow
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. James Olsen

Celtic will need to be on their toes in this match, and though the automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 2-2 draw, a win is vital at this stage of the season. We are five points clear of the relegation zone, so our future is in our own hands. Our defence will have to be alert, and whilst a clean sheet seems unlikely, Hucknall have been shut out before.
Distance: 67
Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Head up Mottram Road, away from Bower Fold heading for Mottram.
At the mini-roundabout, bear left (exit 2 of 4) onto Back Moor.
At the end of this road, join the A57 (Mottram Moor) heading towards Glossop.
At the right turn junction for Glossop, go straight on heading for Tintwistle.
This puts you onto the A628 Woodhead Road.
After 13 miles you will come to Flouch Roundabout.
Turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A616.
After about 9 1/2 miles you will come to a second roundabout, go straight across (exit 3 of 5), heading for the M1.
After another mile you will reach the M1, you can only head South from this junction.
Stay on the M1 for about 35 miles, coming off at Junction 27 heading towards Heanor.
At the roundabout at the end of the slip-road, turn left (exit 1 of 4) onto the A608.
Almost immediately, there is another roundabout.
Bear right (exit 2 of 3) to stay on the A608 (Mansfield Road).
At the next roundabout go straight across (exit 2 of 3).
Almost immediately, there is another roundabout, turn right (exit 2 of 3) onto the A611, signposted Hucknall.
Stay on the A611 for 2 miles, coming to yet another roundabout.
Turn right (exit 2 of 3) to stay on the A611.
Less than a mile, and there is a roundabout, go straight across (exit 2 of 4).
At the next (the last) roundabout, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the B6009 (Watnall Road).
The ground is 100 yards on the right hand side.

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