The Robins are just one point behind United in the League Two table and come to Brunton Park fresh from a 3-1 home win over South Shields in the first round of the FA Cup.
|Carlisle wins||Draws||Cheltenham wins|
That earned them another home tie in round two, where Crewe Alexandra will be the visitors to Whaddon Road.
They also beat Norwich City's under-21 side in the latest of their Papa John's Trophy round-robin fixtures during midweek, making it a successful return to winning ways with their last league outing having gone the way of hosts Oldham as they bagged a late winner at Boundary Park.
Prior to last season United had won the previous four meetings between these teams, but this weekend's visitors drew blood on both occasions last term.
Last week brought a real injury blow when Hull loanee Elliott Bonds was ruled out for the remainder of the season when he confirmed via social media that he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
But there was better news on Tuesday when manager Michael Duff was nominated for the Sky Bet League Two manager of the month award for October, with his team having picked up five wins and five clean sheets during that four-week spell.
Current league form has been patchy, despite that impressive run of results, with two defeats from the last three games adding a few stutters to what had been an otherwise smooth period.
There'll be a decision to make between the sticks with West Brom loanee Josh Griffiths out on international duty with England, so it could be a first start in 10 months for Scott Flinders, who has been sidelined through injury. Max Harris is also waiting in the wings.
The goals have been spread around as the back line has stood strong, and it's no accident that a combination of resolute defending and the ability to snatch goals at key moments has put the Robins in a good position at this early stage of the season.
Alfie May has received a lot of positive comments for his efforts, but we've gone with Andy Williams, who has bagged five goals in his 13 appearances so far. He leads the stats in terms of shots taken for his team, and he can be a thorn in the side if he's given the time and space.
And we know all about Reuben Reid, of course. Is it just me ... or does he seem to score every time he plays against us?
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The 2019/20 season bragging rights went the way of Cheltenham, as they headed north just before the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown was imposed to register a one-goal victory courtesy of a first-half strike from Reuben Reid.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
The Blues were at Whaddon Road earlier in that campaign, in August 2019, when a certain Mr Gavin Reilly set the home side on the road to victory with an early goal. Luke Varney doubled the lead on the stroke of half time, and that's how it stayed.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
Carlisle United 2 - 0 Cheltenham Town, Saturday 19 January 2019
Cheltenham Town 0 - 1 Carlisle United, Saturday 18 August 2018
Referee - Andy Haines
Assistant Referee 1 - Mark Cunliffe
Assistant Referee 2 - Matthew Parry
Fourth Official - Samuel Barrott
Mr Haines has taken charge of 10 games so far this season showing 28 yellow cards and one red.
With one of those quirks that seem to happen in football, the last time we met Andy was for the visit of Cheltenham in that pre-lockdown game in February 2020 (highlights from the game are above). Gethin Jones was the only Carlisle name taken on the day.
He was last at Brunton Park prior to that for our 1-0 home victory over FA Cup replay with Forest Green in December 2019. Aaron Hayden scored his first goal for the club - the only goal of the game - and Ryan Loft went in the book on the night.
He was also here for the 2-1 home win over Macclesfield in November 2019. Harry McKirdy and Ryan Loft scored the Carlisle goals and Mike Jones and Canice Carroll had their names taken on the day.
Prior to that he was here in March 2019 for our 2-2 draw with Cambridge. The U's went ahead with just three minutes on the clock, but goals from Jamie Devitt and Nathan Thomas gave the Blues the lead before the break. Former-United favourite Jabo Ibehre bagged midway through the second period to make it a share of the spoils on the day. Danny Grainger and Mike Jones received bookings during the game.
He was also with us just three months earlier for our Boxing Day meeting with Oldham. United ran riot with goals from Hope, Yates , Nadesan, Grainger and Liddle securing a thumping 6-0 victory. Kelvin Etuhu was the only Carlisle name taken on the night.
Earlier in the 2018/19 season he was up here for our Checkatrade Trophy group fixture against Morecambe. A tight game saw the Shrimps twice take the lead through goals from Oliver and Piggott. Glendon and Gillesphey pegged them back for the Blues, and that set it up for Jerry Yates to grab a late winner. There were no United names taken on the night.
We saw Mr Haines twice in season 2017/18, both at Brunton Park, starting with our opening day fixture against Swindon Town. Luke Joyce scored our only goal in a 2-1 defeat, and Mike Jones was the only Carlisle name to be written down.
Our second meeting had a much more pleasant outcome as we beat Oldham Athletic 3-2 in the FA Cup. Richie Bennett (2) and Hallam Hope gave us a three goal cushion but there was still time to bite the fingernails as Peter Clarke and Aaron Holloway bit back to make it a nervy ending to the game. There were no Carlisle bookings that afternoon.
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