The steady run of fixtures continues for United with a weekend trip to Walsall next on the cards.
It's five-and-a-half years since these sides last met and 2019 finds both teams looking for the points from what will be a tough game which will help them to head into the New Year in a positive frame of mind.
The Saddlers picked up two draws and a victory at the start of this month, which helped them to claw back league places and recover from what had been a stuttering start to the season. Thursday's away win at Scunthorpe kept things ticking over and also, incidentally, extended their unbeaten run to six league games.
Relegated last term, they'll be disappointed with their league position and will no doubt be looking to push on as 2020 looms large.
Caolan Lavery is the front runner in the scoring charts, with six against his name, and Elijah Adebayo, James Clarke and Josh Gordon have all weighed in with three each.
More goals and a tightening up at the back are needed for the Saddlers if they are going to mount a serious challenge this season, but there's no doubt this will be a tough game at what is a busy stage of the year.
From Chris Beech ...
Speaking ahead of the game manager Chris Beech said: "Walsall will give us a very strong challenge. They are a workmanlike team with great energy in it and they all always give 100 per cent. We’ve got a challenge on our hands, there’s no question about that.
"I’m really good friends with Marcus Stewart, he kept in touch when I wasn’t in work, I played with him at Huddersfield and of course their manager has been excellent in non-league and at Bristol Rovers.
"He turned down massive jobs while he was at Bristol Rovers, and ended up losing his job. He knows the league, knows the players, so we have to be right on point to get a positive result at Walsall.”
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Head to Head
|Carlisle wins||Draws||Walsall wins|
The last time these teams met was in April 2014 at Brunton Park. It appeared that an early opening goal from Liam Noble was going to do the trick for the Cumbrians but Michael Ngoo struck late to make it a share of the spoils.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
We were at the Bescot in Deecember 2013 earlier in that campaign and, having hit the woodowrk and missed a penalty, the game was lost courtesy of strikes for the home side from Romaine Sawyers and Milan Lalkovic.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
Man in the middle
Our referee for this fixture is Mr Ben Toner. Ben has taken charge of 18 games so far this season showing 54 yellow cards and four reds.
A regular with us over the years, we had him as our main match official at the start of this campaign for our Carabao Cup meeting with Barnsley at Oakwell. Goals from Harry McKirdy, Jack Bridge [pen] and Nathan Thomas sealed a comfortable victory and no Carlisle names were taken on the night.
Our first meeting with him during the 2018/19 season was for the 2-1 victory over Port Vale at Brunton Park in August. A Danny Grainger penalty and a Tom Parkes header were enough to see the Blues earn the three points with no cards shown
The Checkatrade Trophy fixture at the Stadium of Light was the second United game he oversaw that term, with the Black Cats running out as 3-1 winners. Ashley Nadesan got the United goal and, once again, the cards stayed in his pocket.
New Year's Day 2019 took us to Morecambe, Jamie Devitt and Jack Sowerby got the goals, and Kelvin Etuhu and Anthony Gerrard had their names recorded in the book.
And last, but not least, was our 2-1 home victory over Swindon in March 2019. Hallam Hope and Callum O'Hare scored our goals with Gary Liddle going in the book for a late challenge.
Referee - Ben Toner
Assistant Referee 1 - Abbas Khan
Assistant Referee 2 - Matthew Bristow
Fourth Official - Billy Smallwood
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