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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Swindon Town vs Carlisle United

The lowdown on The Cumbrians…

9 March 2023

Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: Swindon Town vs Carlisle United

The lowdown on The Cumbrians…

9 March 2023

Swindon Town battle it out with Carlisle United this weekend in EFL Sky Bet League Two as they bid to make it four straight games without defeat.

Victory for The Robins could also derail the visitors automatic promotion hopes as they look to close the gap on leaders Leyton Orient above them.

Ahead of Saturday’s showdown at SN1, we’ve previewed Paul Simpson’s side…

History…

England’s most northern football club are enjoying a stellar season to date, and arrive at the County Ground this afternoon sitting second in the standings.

Not bad considering they finished twentieth last term.

The Cumbrians proud history dates back to the nineteenth century when they were formed as Shaddongate United. However, eight years later, in 1904, they were officially renamed Carlisle United.

In their inaugural season the club lifted both the Cumberland Senior League and the Cumberland Cup.

After gaining admission into the Football League in 1923, Carlisle were members of the Third Division North until 1958, during which time future Liverpool manager Bill Shankley lead them for two years in his first job in management.

The Cumbrians gained their first promotion in 1962 but suffered an immediate relegation the following season. There were then consecutive promotions, including the Third Division Championship in 1965, which propelled the club into the Second Division.

Here they would go on to become mainstays in the division, finishing in the top half of the table in seven out of 11 campaigns, during which time they beat Italian giants Roma 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

In 1974/75, Carlisle rose as high as the First Division, where after three games they found themselves the highest ranked team in the country.

But despite going on to finish at the foot of the table, Shankley described his former clubs journey to the top as “the greatest feat in the history of the game.”

But the Cumbrians soon sunk to the Third Division, and in 1987 dropped down to the Fourth for the first time in 23 years.

Five years later, they were spared dropping out of the Football League altogether due to the demise of Aldershot.

They would however go on to set the record straight with a memorable 1994/95 season where they lifted only their second league title and enjoyed their first trip to Wembley.

Their next trip to England’s famous home came two years later where they’d lift the EFL Trophy.

Their turbulent history would continue in 1999 when they were just seconds away from suffering relegation to the Conference, only for a dramatic winner from on loan Swindon goalkeeper Jimmy Glass to seal footballing folklore.

The club continued to flirt with relegation until 2004 when their luck finally ran out, resulting in demotion to the Conference. However, at the first time of asking they returned to the EFL thanks to success via the play-offs.

They’d follow this up with the League Two title next, cementing back-to-back promotions and a place in League One where they’d stay for eight seasons, during which time they lost out to Leeds United in a play-off semi-final and lifted the 2011 edition of the EFL Trophy.

Since suffering relegation in 2014, United have been an ever present of League Two.

DID YOU KNOW?: Carlisle have reached the final of the EFL Trophy six times – more than any other club. But on those six occasions, only two were victorious.

Their season so far…

All told, it’s been a very productive season for Carlisle, who have casually shot up the standings, where they currently find themselves second in the table.

Runaway leaders Orient do boast an 11-point advantage over The Cumbrians, but they’ll be confident of continuing their push to claim that all-important runners-up spot and pip Stevenage to automatic promotion.

Carlisle head into this weekend’s match off the back of three straight wins, in which they thrashed Crawley 5-2 in between victories over Colchester United and Grimsby Town.

Six wins in seven games between Boxing Day and the end of January certainly contributed to their rapid rise up the table, and defensively of late, apart from the odd blip (a 4-0 home defeat to Mansfield last month), they’ve looked pretty strong.

Previous meetings…

This seasons reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw at Brunton Park back in August, as Cumbrians top marksman Kristian Dennis cancelled out Jacob Wakeling’s opening strike.

Going beyond the current campaign, there isn’t too much to choose between the two sides, with two wins each and a draw in their last five league encounters.

Their most recent match up came back in February, with Town winning the tie 3-0 with goals from Harry McKirdy, Josh Davison and Louie Barry.

Before that they met in August 2021, with Town suffering a 2-1 home defeat.

During the 2019/20 campaign, Town emerged 3-2 winners at home before having to settle for a 1-1 draw in the return clash.

Back in March 2019, The Cumbrians recorded another 2-1 win, this time on home turf.

The manager: Paul Simpson…

The 56-year-old returned to Brunton Park last season where he kept Carlisle up having inherited a side in the drop zone.

Simpson first took the reins of his hometown club in a player-manager capacity back in 2003. Again, he took over a struggling side, who in his first season, suffered relegation to the Conference.

However, he would lead Carlisle to back-to-back promotions which saw them become a Championship side.

After leaving Carlisle in 2006, he enjoyed stints at Preston and Shrewsbury, where The Shrews narrowly missed out on promotion via the play-offs.

Before returning to Brunton Park, Simpson lent his expertise to England’s Under-20s, where he guided them to a historic World Cup win in South Korea in 2017.

One’s to watch…

Tomas Holy

Standing tall at six-foot nine-inches, Holy is one of football’s tallest players.

The former Czech Republic youth international has started every league game for Carlisle this season after joining in the summer.

He started life in the academy of Sparta Prague, where he would go on to develop his trade through an array of loan spells at fellow Czech sides.

He left his homeland in 2017 as he put pen to paper with Gillingham, and in total, racked up just under a century of appearances for The Gills before making over half a century of outings for Ipswich.

Last season he featured for both Cambridge and Port Vale on loan.

Jack Armer

The left back is another Carlisle player to have started every league game this campaign.

The Scot, born in Preston, began his career with his hometown club where he captained their under-18s on several occasions.

His first taste of the men’s game came while on loan at Lancaster City where he amassed 27 appearances over the course of two spells.

Despite leaving Deepdale having failed to feature in their first-team, he was snapped up by Carlisle in 2020.

So far this season he has assisted five goals, with today marking his 100th appearance for The Cumbrians.

Paul Huntington

The 35-year-old offers Carlisle a wealth of experience from the highest level.

Having been at the club as a youngster, Huntington was poached by Newcastle United in 2004.

In his first match for the Toon, the defender won Man of the Match for a stellar performance at right back away to Chelsea.

He later scored at White Hart Lane and played European football for The Magpies before joining Leeds for an undisclosed fee. However, he found first team opportunities hard to come by at Elland Road, which saw his switch to Stockport County on loan.

Next, he’d appear 77 times for Yeovil, captaining the Somerset outfit on several occasions.

He joined Carlisle last Summer after making just under 400 appearances for Preston over 10 seasons.

Owen Moxon

The midfielder is certainly the Cumbrian outfit’s creative source this season with 12 assists to his name.

The 25-year-old was born in Carlisle but began his professional career north of the border with Queen of the South.

He made 10 appearances for the club, adding further minutes to his belt via a loan spell with Gretna 2008.

Next on the cards was a switch to Annan Athletic where he featured just shy of 150 times, during which he earned the Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Year for his efforts.

This persuaded Carlisle to bring him back home last year.

Callum Guy

The Nottingham-born midfielder adds a vital box to box presence for Carlisle in the middle of the park.

The 26-year-old came through the Derby youth system aged nine, and went on to make four appearances for The Rams with the majority of his football coming at loan spells with Port Vale, Bradford, and Blackpool.

After leaving Derby in 2019, he put pen to paper with Blackpool on a permanent deal.

He made just under half a century of showings for The Seasiders before joining Carlisle in 2020.

With over a hundred appearances for The Cumbrians and a Player of the Season award, Guy is a cherished member of Paul Simpson’s side in his fourth season at Brunton Park.

Kristian Dennis

It’s fair to say that The Cumbrians most potent threat comes from the inform Dennis.

With 17 goals in 33 games so far, the striker is well and truly firing Carlisle towards League One.

He started his career with Macclesfield Town before dropping down to non-league with Woodley Sports.

There he netted 12 times before adding another 16 to his tally with Mossley.

It was then he started raising his profile with some eye-watering numbers at Curzon Ashton, netting 72 times over the course of two seasons.

The scoring didn’t slow down either, as the 32-year-old continued to terrorise defences while representing Stockport, Macclesfield, and Chesterfield.


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