The Blues are at table-toppers MK Dons on Saturday as they return to League Two action following last Saturday's FA Cup meeting with Lincoln.
New manager Paul Tisdale has lost just six of his 26 fixtures since taking charge in June as he looks to take MK Dons back up to League One at the first time of asking.
Three league wins out of four through November has seen Tisdale pick up a manager of the month nomination, and also helped his team to leapfrog Lincoln City as they built themselves a five-point cushion to fourth place heading into the busy festive period.
The charge into the upper reaches of the division started in earnest for the Dons in October as they won five of their six league outings. A point was added to the 15 already accrued when they picked up a draw at Mansfield, having only missed out on all three points due to an uncharacteristic lack of composure in front of goal.
There are goals-a-plenty in the stadium:mk ranks, and Saturday's hosts boast the tightest defence having condeded just 13 league goals as they enjoy a solid campaign.
Look out for the prolific Kieran Agard, who has notched up nine goals and two assists. Chuks Aneke has been amongst the finishes with eight strikes and one assist to his name, and Rhys Healey gets a mention in despatches with a creditable six goals and two assists against his name.
Manager’s thoughts ...
Speaking ahead of the weekend game, manager John Sheridan said: "We put the disappointment of last weekend behind us quickly because we're heading into what is an important period.
"This will be another tough game but if we do our jobs, and do the simple things well, we'll give them a good game.
"They have players who can score goals, and they'll be full of confidence. They're top of the division because of their consistency and because they put teams away when they get on top in games.
"We know the threats they will pose but we also know we can cause them problems as well. They're a team that won't want to give top spot away lightly, but that's not our concern.
"If we concentrate on ourselves and on what we can do, there is no reason at all why we can't come away with a positive result."
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Did You Know?
+ MK Dons came out of the ashes of Wimbledon FC in 2004 and initially played their games at the National Hockey Stadium.
+ Stuart Murdoch was their first ever manager, but he was dismissed after just a few months in charge to be replaced by Danny Wilson.
+ MK Dons moved into their current home at stadium:mk in 2007.
Head to Head
These sides have met on a total of 12 occasions with Carlisle edging the honours with seven victories over four to MK Dons.
|Carlisle wins||Draws||MK Dons wins|
The last time we were at the home of MK Dons was way back in October 2013. United had to defend for long periods of the game but they ultimately deserved the victory, which came from the boot of Lews Guy. David Amoo had attempted a scissor kick volley at the back stick, but that only flew across the face of goal as he got his bearings wrong. Guy was there to crunch a beauty into the top corner and win the game for the Blues.
Watch the highlights from that game here ...
The home game at Brunton Park in January that season was a much more comfortable and emphatic victory for United. Lee Miller diverted a Tom Lawrence free kick into the bottom corner to open the scoring, and Brad Potts finished off a flowing move at close range to double the lead. A near post David Amoo header, from a whipped corner, gave United their three goal lead and an easy win.
Watch the goals from that game here ...
Man in the middle
Our referee for this game is Mr Scott Oldham. He has taken charge of 13 games so far this season, showing 44 yellow cards and no reds.
We last saw him up here at Brunton Park for the game against Stevenage in September. A Ben Kennedy goal early in the second half was enough to give the Boro a one-goal victory, and Hallam Hope's was the only Carlisle name taken on the day.
He was at Brunton Park on three occasions last season - the first in September 2017 when we drew 1-1 with Barnet. Shaun Miller scored our late equaliser, with just five minutes left to play, and it was a game where the notebook stayed firmly in the pocket.
We saw him again at the end of December when Coventry were the visitors to Carlisle. Danny Grainger and Jamie Devitt went in the book as Marc McNulty bagged a second half winner.
His last trip to see us in the last campaign was for our 2-0 victory over Grimsby. Hallam Hope and Mark Ellis scored the goals and Clint Hill was the only yellow card shown on the day.
Referee – Scott Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 – Alix Pashley
Assistant Referee 2 – Darren Wilding
Fourth Official – Andrew Hendley
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