After a break from league action for the Checkatrade Trophy tie against Leicester City earlier this week, the Blues return to Sky Bet League Two action as Exeter City come to Cumbria.
A 1-0 win at Crawley last time out has seen Keith Curle’s side climb to 14th at this early stage of the season, but they face a stern test against Paul Tisdale’s promotion hopefuls this weekend.
Exeter began the season in scintillating form and will be looking to build on their excellent results thus far.
We put the Grecians under the spotlight ahead of their visit to Brunton Park:
Back on Track
After narrowly missing out on promotion via the play-offs last season, Exeter began this season strongly and went eight games unbeaten at the start of the League Two campaign - a run of form which saw Paul Tisdale handed a long-awaited Manager of the Month prize for August.
Back-to-back defeats to Coventry and Notts County in September threatened to derail the positive start, but the Grecians have bounced back strongly - beating Morecambe 4-1 before holding local rivals Plymouth Argyle to a 2-2 draw in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The St James’ Park side currently sit second in League Two - level on points with leaders Notts County - and will hope to be in promotion contention come May.
Food for Thought for Tisdale
Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy tie against the Pilgrims saw Exeter make eight changes - with some of Tisdale’s fringe players impressing.
The likes of Matt Jay and Kyle Edwards impressed with the former providing a fine assist for the game’s opening goal while the latter netted the Grecians’ second goal with a well-taken effort.
Jay and Edwards, alongside several others, will be hoping their strong performances in the competi-tion are enough for Tisdale to hand them a start at Brunton Park.
What Does History Tell Us?
The two sides have met regularly since the 1980s, and more so in the 21st century, with not much to separate either teams’ record.
From 58 meetings, Exeter have the slightly better of it having claimed 23 victories compared to United’s 19, with 16 games ending in draws.
Recent league form has favoured Carlisle, however, with the Cumbrians unbeaten in their last four league games against the Grecians (excluding the play-offs).
Meetings between the two clubs have seen plenty of goals over recent years too, with 32 goals scored in the last eight fixtures - an average of four per game.
It’s a Long Journey Home
It’s a 694-mile round-trip from St James’ Park to Brunton Park, and it’s not traditionally been a happy journey home for the Grecians in recent years.
Of the last six times the two clubs have met at Brunton Park, Exeter have claimed only one victory - a 3-1 triumph over the Blues in March 2015.
The other three clashes have brought about two draws and three Carlisle victories - including that memorable last-gasp triumph in November of last year.
Watch highlights of the 3-2 league home win last season here:
Watch highlights of the 3-2 league away win last season here:
Watch highlights of the play-off semi-final first leg here:
Watch highlights of the play-off semi-final second leg here:
Ones to Watch
+ Jordan Moore-Taylor - Exeter’s captain and a key part of their backline, Moore-Taylor came through the ranks at St. James’ Park before bursting onto the scene in the 2012/13 campaign with a string of impressive performances. Since then, the 23-year-old has gone from strength to strength with last season perhaps his best in a red and white shirt as he contributed five goals on the Grecians’ run to the play-off final while also picking up the Away Travel Player of the Year award.
+ Dean Moxey - An experienced head in Exeter’s fairly young team, Moxey rejoined his hometown club this summer having spent time at Derby, Crystal Palace and Bolton. He initially made his debut for the club in 2003 and helped City back into the Football League and then into League One be-fore departing for Derby in 2009. Comfortable in either midfield or defence, Moxey’s know-how and higher-level experience will be vital for the Grecians this season.
+ Jayden Stockley - Striker Stockley rejoined Exeter on transfer deadline day after enjoying a highly-successful loan spell at St. James’ Park in 2016. During his temporary stay with the Grecians he netted 10 goals in only 21 appearances, and this form attracted the attention of Aberdeen who lured him north of the border. But after finding first team opportunities limited at Pittodrie he returned to join Tisdale’s men and will hope to recapture the form from his first spell at the club.