Date: 23rd August 2018 at 5:00pm
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We move on from Tuesday night’s disappointment at Colchester with another away game, this time heading north to Brunton Park to face Carlisle United. The Cumbrians started off the season with a defeat at Exeter and a home draw with Northampton Town before back-to-back victories against Cheltenham Town and Port Vale. They also lost 5-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Cup.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 90 times with Carlisle leading the head-to-head with 40 wins to 36 with 14 draws. Carlisle’s biggest win came last season at the Alexandra Stadium as they won 5-0 whilst the Alex’s biggest win came in January 1939 with a 7-1 victory at the Alexandra Stadium. Last season saw the Cumbrians win both games, the aforementioned 5-0 at the Alexandra Stadium as well as 1-0 in last season’s corresponding fixture.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Sebastian Stocksbridge as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Chris Isherwood and Geoffrey Liddle with Paul Hodskinson being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons, the following Crewe games have been refereed by Stocksbridge:

  • Crewe Alexandra 1-3 Notts County (25th March 2014) – Ellis
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Preston North End (28th December 2014) – Cooper
  • Burton Albion 0-0 Crewe Alexandra (20th October 2015)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Barnsley (27th February 2016) – Guthrie
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-4 Cheltenham Town (FA Cup, 15th November 2016) – Lowe
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Cambridge United (1st April 2017) – o.g.
  • Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Grimsby Town (1st January 2018) – Porter, Walker

I asked Carlisle United supporter Jack Cousin for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Carlisle’s transfer activity over the summer?

I think it was ok. I was a bit skeptical about our two goalkeepers, Adam Collin and Joe Fryer, but Fryer has looked solid enough in the first few games bar one mistake against Blackburn. Jerry Yates on loan from Rotherham is a bag of tricks down the wing. He’s still raw but will improve. George Glendon will establish himself as a first team regular soon enough, while signing Ashley Nadesan again on loan is a welcome boost to a thin forward line.

What do you think the team will be for Saturday’s game?

GK – Fryer RB – Gary Liddle CB – Anthony Gerrard CB – Tom Parkes LB – Danny Grainger RM – Jerry Yates CM – Kelvin Etuhu CM – Jamie Devitt LM – Hallam Hope ST – Ashley Nadesan ST – Ritchie Bennett

The same team that started against Port Vale. We might set up slightly more defensively so that could perhaps see Glendon in for Nadesan, meaning a five across the midfield.

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the Cumbrian’s team?

Kelvin Etuhu. He missed a lot of last season struggling with injuries and fitness but has come back and had the impact of a new signing. He’s athletic, strong, can pass and not afraid to shoot. He’ll get about the field and make it difficult for yourselves to play through the middle.

After the few seasons have seen you finish in the top-half, could this be the season that Carlisle break back into the play-off picture or even get promoted?

I’m still skeptical. I think we are still massively short of a quality striker that most teams who end up getting promoted have. I predicted us to finish 15th before that start of the season but looking at it now that was perhaps a bit low. We’ve made a good start but there’s still a long way to go.

Who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

I predicted MK Dons to win the league at the start of the season, so I’ll stick with them. I also though Colchester recruited well and wouldn’t be surprised to see them continue their fine start.

Cheltenham lost some good players in summer and they’ve started poorly and have now sacked their manager. I also fear for Yeovil despite their 4-0 away win at Notts County recently.