James Heneghan's Carlisle United v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Carlisle United v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 10:43 am
Jack Bridge, now a Carlisle player, scored twice when Cobblers beat the Cumbrians 3-0 earlier in 2019.

Date/time: Tuesday, October 22, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: Brunton Park

Forecast: 10C, cloudy

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Outs and doubts: Carlisle: Harry McKirdy. Northampton: Ryan Watson, Joe Martin

Betting: Carlisle 9/5, draw 12/5, Northampton 17/10

Form guide: Cumbrians LWLLWL, Cobblers WLWLDD

Current league positions: 20th v 15th

Possible line-ups: Carlisle (3-5-2): Collin, Branthwaite, Webster, Mellish; G Jones, Bridge, M Jones, Scougall, Iredale; Hope, Olomola. Northampton (4-2-3-1): Cornell; Harriman, Goode, Turnbull, Wharton; McCormack, Lines; Hoskins, Waters, Adams; Williams.

Man in the middle: Scott Oldham

Last time out: Plymouth 2 Carlisle 0; Northampton 2 (Hoskins, Turnbull) Salford 0

Most recent meeting: Saturday, January 12, 2019 - Northampton 3 (Bridge 2, Morias) Carlisle 0

Record v Carlisle: P42 W16 D14 L12

James Heneghan's preview: For all the mutterings of discontent in recent weeks, these next four days present Cobblers with an excellent opportunity to get their faltering season up and running once and for all.

It's been a case of one step forward, two back so far for Keith Curle's men who remain disappointingly-placed in Sky Bet League Two despite Saturday's timely 2-0 win over Salford City, which lifted them three places to 15th.

But take away the calamity against Scunthorpe United the previous weekend and Town have been competitive in every game and perhaps unfortunate not to have more points on the board.

Now they have two games in four days and both look eminently winnable on paper, though we've all heard that one before and been left disappointed.

On Tuesday, they undertake their longest trip of the season - just pipping Plymouth Argyle by a mile or so - to take on a Carlisle United team who have their own problems to worry about.

Indeed, in many ways, Carlisle's season has followed a similar path to Town's. With expectations high in pre-season and a manager hoping to make the most of his first full campaign in charge, just four wins and a seismic eight defeats - no League Two team has more - sees the Cumbrians struggling down in 20th place 14 games in, just five points above rock-bottom Stevenage.

Only one team - Morecambe - have conceded more goals than Carlisle this season but as Cobblers discovered to their great cost at the Globe Arena last month, statistics like that ultimately mean little once battle has commenced.

Nonetheless, manager Stephen Pressley, who replaced the Chesterfield-bound John Sheridan midway through last season, is in desperate need of a victory this evening to stave off the growing number of supporters calling for his head. Defeat at the hands of one of his predecessors could well spell the end.

There are familiar faces galore this evening. Jack Bridge, scorer of two goals in Town's 3-0 win when these two last met, will likely line-up for tonight's hosts while Nicky Adams left the Cobblers for Carlisle following their title success in 2016, spending the next two seasons there.

But no one is more familiar to the Brunton Park faithful than Curle himself who makes his first return to Cumbria since ending his four-year reign 18 months ago.

Curle was not universally liked by Carlisle fans - which manager is? - but there's no question he achieved good things with the club, transforming them from relegation candidates to top-10 regulars.

He never quite managed to take them one step further and oversee a promotion but, perhaps with the aid of three points tonight, he could still do so with the Cobblers.

Prediction: Carlisle United 1 Northampton Town 2