The festive period begins for the Blues on Tuesday as Accrington Stanley visit Brunton Park in a Boxing Day fixture.
After a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers last time out, Keith Curle will be hoping his side can build on that once again.
Both teams enjoyed successful 2016/17 campaigns, with Stanley narrowly missing out on a play-off place to the Cumbrians, and will be hoping for similar fortunes this time around.
Indeed, Accrington have been real contenders in the league over the last two years with a string of impressive displays, and we cast our eye over the recent goings-on with John Coleman’s side:
Pushing For Play-Offs
Accrington finished last season strongly, losing only twice in their final fourteen games as they rocketed up the table, so it’s no surprise that they’ve picked up where they left off.
Coleman’s side currently sit seventh in Sky Bet League Two - but have lost their last four games in all competitions.
A win over Wycombe Wanderers on 21 November was Stanley’s last triumph, and they’ll be keen to reverse that poor run of form this weekend.
But despite that form, Coleman’s men are still in play-off contention and will want to remain in with a shout come May.
Prolific Front Line
There are several players for United to watch carefully on Tuesday, with their frontline in sparkling form so far this season.
Striker Kayden Jackson was has been impressive and has already netted seven goals this campaign.
He has been partnering the ever-prolific Billy Kee whose 11 goals see him top Stanley’s scoring charts, while Leeds loanee Mailik Wilks has hit the net three times.
Further back down the field, Jordan Clark and Sean McConville have provided assists as well as goals themselves, meaning there are plenty of danger men for the Blues to watch.
What Does History Tell Us?
United have fared rather well in their meetings with Accrington over the years, triumphing on 31 occasions compared to Stanley’s 20 victories.
Recent form, however, has been mixed with Stanley claiming the three points in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
The games tend to be entertaining affairs, too. Of the last eight meetings, only three of the games haven’t seen both teams score while you have to go back to 1936 for the last time this fixture produced a goalless draw.
Carlisle United 1 - 1 Accrington Stanley - 3 September 2016
Carlisle United 2 - 0 Accrington Stanley - 6 February 2016
Over 60 years ...
Carlisle haven’t lost at Brunton Park against Accrington in their last nine meetings, which spans over 60 years.
The last time Stanley won in Cumbria was in 1956 when they ran out 4-0 victors over the Blues.
But, since then, Carlisle have been dominant and have registered three draws and six victories form the last nine visits of Stanley.
Ones to Watch
+ Billy Kee - A Northern Irish international, the prolific Kee rejoined Stanley for a second spell in 2015 and immediately set about finding the back of the net. Over the last two seasons, the striker has found the net on 32 occasions and has proven himself as one of the best marksmen in Sky Bet League Two. He’ll need to be watched carefully on Saturday as he will undoubtedly pose a real attacking threat.
+ Janoi Donacien - Having spent time at Tottenham and Aston Villa as a youngster, Donacien came to Stanley with a great pedigree in the game and quickly impressed with some determined performances at the heart of the defence. Initially penning a short term deal at the start of last season, his impressive displays earned him a longer-term deal and he has justified that and now forms a key part of a resolute and difficult to break down backline.
+ Aaron Chapman - The goalkeeper now in a second spell with Stanley after an earlier loan period was curtailed by a serious injury. He returned in the summer of 2016 having been released by Chesterfield and has previously caught the eye of Premier League club Everton with his commanding figure and excellent performances seeing his reputation soar.