Preview: Carlisle United

Where We Are

Where to start? First of all after the Football League and ACL’s statements today there seems a small chance that we’ll get our 10 points back. ACL are calling for the administration process to start again after the structure of the various companies associated with the football club was revealed, as well as the prior location of the elusive golden share. This could mean that we’ll have to go through more of the crap that we’ve been through all over again, statement, counter-statement, company related to SISU regains control, that sort of stuff. Postively it could force ACL and SISU back to the negotiating table to bring the club back to the Ricoh, plus we could even be given our 10 points back.

Furthermore there’s been a public argument between our manager, Steven Pressley, and Scunthorpe’s Brian Laws. Laws commented that whilst his club could not afford Leon Clarke he was available for transfer due to Coventry’s ‘financial situation’. Pressley refuted this and from the sounds of it, Laws was lucky not to be within punching distance. I swing two ways on these type of stories, part of me’s worried that they reflect that the club is looking to sell players, the other part of me is concerned about the lack of understanding people have for the specifics of our financial situation.

As far as the team itself is concerned, after a frankly ridiculous 5-4 win in Northampton on Sunday I would say that confidence is pretty high. Despite missing captain Carl Baker, Billy Daniels filled in admirably, with 2 goals, and ex-academy players such as Jordan Clarke, Conor Thomas and Callum Wilson shone. The main concern is the amount of goals we’re conceding, however a number of Bristol City’s goals came from luck rather than poor defending from how I viewed it.

Chris Dunn has terminated his contract at the club and with Joe Murphy’s fitness issues the timing could perhaps been better. However Lee Burge is clearly Pressley’s second choice and Dunn’s departure could free up space for another new arrival, possibly a winger, so I think his exit benefits all parties concerned. Aside from Murphy, the other fitness doubt is Adam Barton who hasn’t been playing anyway but provides a useful option from the bench.

Given that Murphy apparantly played through his current injury on Sunday it seems likely that Pressley won’t change a winning side meaning Daniels and Webster continue after impressing on their respective seasonal debuts.

Last Time We Played Them

It was back in January and it was the second defeat we suffered after an unbeaten run which stretched from late November. Back then we were hoping that Robins would continue our momentum and lead us into the play-offs. In the event an early Matty Robson goal for Carlisle won them the game despite a semi-spirited Coventry revival. It’s one of those away trips that fans in League One dread, it’s long and they can be a tricky team to play against. The only thing of note from that game was that Callum Wilson made his first appearance of the season towards the end of the match.

How Are They Doing?

In the league they are the team who would be bottom of the league were it not for our points deduction. They began with an opening day 5-1 defeat to Leyton Orient and followed it up last week with a 4-0 defeat to Bradford. However in the League Cup they managed a win on penalties against Championship side Blackburn Rovers and their currently position perhaps belies some of their qualities. That being said their manager Greg Abbott is under pressure to deliver results after a few years of perceived under-achievement so a win for the Sky Blues could hasten the ex-Coventry player’s exit from Brunton Park.

The key men for Carlisle are Lee Miller, David Amoo and Liam Noble. Lee Miller is one of the league’s top strikers provided he stays fit. Last season saw Miller suffer a lengthy absence but he’ll be desperate to make up for lost time and earn a deserved move to the Championship. Amoo is a former Liverpool youth player who’s showing the early signs of becoming a journeyman. On his day he’s a pacey attacker who most sides will struggle to cope with, a lack of end product though made both Preston and Tranmere balk at keeping him for longer than 6 months. He’s started the season in decent form and will be looking to prove his doubters wrong. Liam Noble is a tidy central midfielder who was once a bright prospect at Sunderland. After failing to make the grade he’s been quietly going about his business with Carlisle and is on his way to becoming a top central midfielder in this league, he’s one I’d keep an eye on.

Carlisle are another team looking to blood in youngsters in order to cut costs. Last season saw midfielder Josh Todd, striker Mark Beck and goalkeeper Mark Gillespie depose senior players of their first-team place. This year they have high hopes for Partrick Brough and Alex Salmon, who could both feature as well in the forthcoming match.

Furthermore it is worth looking out for attacking midfielder Josh Gillies who recently signed from Gateshead. He impressed during the Blackburn League Cup match and appears to be Carlisle’s designated set-piece taker. The Cumbrians have also secured Adam Campbell from Newcastle on a month-long loan, he’s a pacey striker who’s very highly rated by Newcastle which could make him a potential threat should he feature.

Prediction

Sunday’s dramatic win over Bristol City has got to give this Coventry team confidence that we can mix it with the best in the league. An unchanged side could expose the inconsistency of our younger players but it could also give them the self-belief that they are capable players at this level. After a difficult start Carlisle are wounded and given Greg Abbott’s Coventry roots it could inspire this side to push itself further. This being early in the season its hard to tell how either side will approach this match. I predict though that City will be able to use Sunday’s win as a catalyst and put Carlisle to the sword. Prediction 3-1 win to Coventry.

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