Celtic?s next opponents on Tuesday night (kick off 7:45pm) are Workington, who are currently just above Celtic in the league in sixth, three points ahead of Celtic. If we can win by two clear goals, we will go above them; otherwise, they will remain above us.
Workington?s goal difference is two greater than Celtic?s and they also have a two goal advantage in the goals for, so a win by one goal will leave them above us on goals for, whilst a draw or loss will leave us trailing on points.
Workington have drawn their last two games, 1-1 away at Barrow and 1-1 at home to Kettering, the latter was a big result, and it ended Kettering?s 100% start to the season. Those two draws have both come after a run of four straight wins, including two home wins over Blyth and Nuneaton. On the road, they have beaten Hucknall and Vauxhall. Coincidentally, they beat Vauxhall by the same margin Celtic beat them by on Saturday: 5-2. They started the season with two defeats losing 2-3 at home to Southport and on the opening day 2-0 away at Boston. It could be argued that their four wins this season have come against teams that are struggling, with none of their victories coming over teams higher than fifteenth. Apart from the late equaliser against Kettering, against top-half teams, they have failed to get any points.
That said, the automated prediction algorithm is predicting a narrow win for Workington, in a high scoring game at 3-2 to the Cumbrian side.
It is true that Celtic have never really got good results against Workington with the Reds taking all six points against us last season, beating us home and away 2-1. However, the season before Celtic took all six points off Workington, again with 2-1 score-lines. In the FA cup, though, Workington have twice knocked us out after holding us to a draw at Bower Fold twice, before taking us back to Borough Park and winning. Our only other win in recent years over Workington was a 4-1 win in the President?s Cup back in 2002.
Workington are very solid defensively, conceding nine goals this season, with half of those goals coming around the half time whistle. Most of their scoring has been done in the second half, with three very late goals making their scoring total up to sixteen. They have the fifth best attack in the league, and are joint fifth in the defensive stakes. On average, they score 1.8 goals per game at home (two overall), and concede one goal per game at home (1.2 overall). The average time of their first goal at home is fifty-seven minutes; whilst their average time for first concede is twenty-seven minutes at home.
In Michael Reed and Jon Wright, Workington have a very good pairing up front that have got five goals apiece so far this season.
With the loss of their manager, Tommy Cassidy to Newcastle Blue Star, Workington have haemorrhaged several players already. On the injury front, goalkeeper Adam Collin picked up a broken toe in the Kettering game, and was replaced by seventeen year-old sub-keeper Aaron Taylor. Also likely to be out is Graham Anthony, and Steve Birks recently departed for Newcastle.
In their 1-1 draw with Kettering, Workington lined up as:
1. Adam Collin
2. David Hewson
3. Gari Rowntree
4. Alan Gray
5. Kyle May
6. Adrian Webster
7. Tony Hopper
8. Dean Nicholson
9. Jonny Wright
10. Michael Reed
11. Anthony Wright
Celtic may start with Mark Haran who was touch and go at Vauxhall, and had declared himself fit. James Dudgeon is still a doubt. In our 5-2 demolition of Vauxhall, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paddy Gamble
2. Steve Payne
3. Andy Smart
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Terry Barwick
6. Paul Sykes
7. Ashley Burbeary
8. Ashley Winn
9. Chris Hall
10. Matty Barlow
11. Simon Garner
Celtic have scored an impressive 2.2 goals per game away from home this season, whilst conceding 1.5 goals per game. We have conceded ten goals this season, and scored fourteen, with eight different scorers. With Workington still reshuffling from the departure of Tommy Cassidy now is a good time to play the Cumbrians. Celtic are certainly capable of building on the Vauxhall win, and a win in the far North would put us within striking distance of the play-offs.