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Match Preview :- Nuneaton Town - Saturday February 2nd, 2008 (15:00:00)
Celtic?s next match is on Saturday 2nd February when Nuneaton Borough come to the Fold. Nuneaton are currently one place and two points behind Celtic, having put their nightmare start to the season well behind them, and are currently on a roll of just three losses in the last twenty matches.

The winner of this match will improve their position in the league. If Nuneaton win it, they?ll be in the play-offs, whilst if Celtic win it, we will put five points between us and sixth, and depending on how the results go, we could well be second, though that would require a win by five clear goals ? so it?s not that likely.

Nuneaton have not won away from home in their last four matches, drawing at Boston and Hinckley and losing at Hyde and Blyth. Prior to that, they had three straight away wins (from a total of five away wins), with the most notable scalp away at Worcester. The only top five side that they have played away from home (at the time) was Hyde, a game that they lost 2-0.

Nuneaton have the third best defensive record in the league, having conceded just twenty-four goals this season. This gives them a season average of 0.9 goals shipped per game (both home and away), whilst they score and average of 1.1 goals per game (1.5 overall). Their top scorer is Andy Brown, whose thirteen goals equals Celtic?s top scorer Chris Hall, and puts them both join second in the league goal scorers? chart, one behind Hyde?s Gareth Seddon. Trailing some distance behind is Jordan Stepien who has seven for the season.

Our last meeting with Nuneaton was earlier in the season when Nuneaton were the victors after going behind to a 20 minute Chris Hall goal, they pulled all level just before the break from the spot, and took the lead towards the end of the match. Since we met in the Conference National in 2000, we have met Nuneaton ten other times, winning once at Nuneaton, and winning three of the six encounters at Bower Fold, drawing the other three, meaning Nuneaton have not won at Bower Fold. In the National, we met Nuneaton four times, putting them out of the Trophy, winning at home, and losing away. The game last season at Bower Fold was a humdinger, finishing 4-3, with a late Nuneaton own goal gift-wrapping the three points to Celtic.

With both teams on a roll, Celtic?s home advantage gives them an edge in the predicted final score, with the algorithm suggesting a narrow 2-1 win for Celtic.

Nuneaton have signed a new forward, Alex Rodman, who made his debut in their drubbing of Workington last weekend, a game they won 3-0, though it was Andy Brown who added to his season tally twice in that match, whilst Jordan Stepien will be facing up to fellow loanee James Dean as they are both on loan from Bury, one to each club. Manager Kevin Wilkinson will have an almost fully fit and suspension free squad for the game on Saturday, and could field an unchanged line up from their 3-0 win over Workington, where they lined as:
1. Darren Acton
2. Simon Travis
3. Connor Franklin
4. Neil Moore
5. Gavin Cowan
6. Matt Collins
7. Tom Curtis
8. Mark Noon
9. Bradley Prichard
10. Andy Brown
11. Jordan Stepien

Celtic will be without Ashley Winn who is serving the last of his two match ban for an accumulation of cautions. Steve Payne and Barrie Keeling are both injured, as they were in the Barrow match that Celtic won 3-1 at Holker Street in our last match. In that match, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paddy Gamble
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Andy Smart
4. Garry Burke
5. Simon Garner
6. Paul Sykes
7. James Dean
8. Terry Barwick
9. Chris Hall
10. Matty Barlow
11. Alex Meechan

Celtic are in pole position for a play-off spot, but Nuneaton will want to take it from them. It will need yet another good performance from the squad to overcome a determined Nuneaton outfit and consolidate a top five spot, hopefully pushing on. With Southport away at Kettering, Harrogate away at Hucknall, and Telford away at Workington, there is a chance for the teams above us to drop points (certainly in the Kettering, Southport game!), and if results go our way we could go second!
Match Sponsor
Brother UK
Ball Sponsor
Arthur Boswell
Man of the Match Sponsor
Taylor Properties
Programme Sponsor
John Dillon Jnr
Main club sponsor
Dream Bi-Folding Doors Official Shirt Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Warm-up Kit Sponsor
Mulgrew Haulage - Official Warm-up Kit Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Site Sponsor
MG Domestic - Official Site Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Hospitality Providers
Bower Fold Events - hospitality providers