The Blues’ Sky Bet League Two season continues tonight with a trip to the Ricoh Arena to take on Coventry City.
Keith Curle’s side will be hoping to bounce back from the 3-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley and will face a Coventry side who will be buoyant after a win at the weekend.
Relegated last season, Mark Robins’ men have recruited well over the summer and will be looking to return to the third tier at the first time of asking.
We put the Sky Blues under the spotlight ahead of our trip south:
Mixed Bag - But Looking Promising
It’s been something of an inconsistent start for Coventry, but there are some positive results which suggest that Robins’ side could well be challenging for promotion. They have only lost twice in league action and currently sit in eighth spot - just shy of the play-off places.
The season began with back-to-back victories against Notts County and Grimsby before consecutive defeats to Newport and Yeovil followed. But recent results have given the Sky Blues reason to be optimistic with a draw against Chesterfield followed by a narrow 1-0 win over Port Vale at the weekend.
Those results suggest that Coventry can definitely be contenders this season, and they’ll be keen to extend their unbeaten run to three games when the Cumbrians come to town.
Robins has a fairly large squad at his disposal and may well rotate personnel against Carlisle.
And he’ll be forced into at least one change with centre back Rod McDonald, who was recalled to the squad for the visit of Port Vale, sent off against the Valiants.
Coventry also have the option to change things going forward, with Stuart Beavon benched last time out with the experienced striker certainly capable of finding the back of the net.
What Does History Tell Us?
Meetings between United and Coventry have been scarce over recent years, with the two sides having only met five times this millennium - with four league meetings and one League Cup tie.
Five of those meetings have been won by Carlisle, but the Blues come off worse when you take all our meetings into account.
The two sides have met only 15 times in total with those five wins since 2000 the only ones United have racked up - Coventry have claimed eight victories while two meetings have ended in draws.
We Fare Well On Our Travels
United have travelled to Coventry twice in recent years - in 2012 and 2014 - and have claimed victory on both occasions.
On Joe Garner’s return to the club, goals from Danny Cadamarteri and Danny Livesey handed the Cumbrians a well-earned 2-1 triumph at the Ricoh Arena in 2012 before Carlisle triumphed by the same scoreline in 2014 thanks to goals from Liam Noble and Sam Byrne.
Watch highlights from that game here:
There is therefore plenty to be optimistic about ahead of our next trip to Coventry - could we see a similar scoreline this time?
Ones to Watch
+ Jack Grimmer - A summer arrival from Fulham, the full-back offers great experience despite his young age. Despite being only 23, Grimmer has already represented Aberdeen, where he was the club’s youngest ever player, Port Vale and Shrewsbury. Comfortable going forward alongside performing his defensive duties, Grimmer is tenacious and tough in the tackle - key attributes in League Two.
+ Tony Andreu - The cultured French midfielder was something of a surprise summer arrival at Coventry City having previously impressed at a much higher level. He made his name at Hamilton where he netted 25 goals in 58 appearances before moving to Norwich. He spent time on loan at Dundee United last term before teaming up with the Sky Blues where he’ll be looking to rediscover his previous form. If he does, then he’ll be a key component of Coventry’s side.
+ Marc McNulty - Formerly of Sheffield United and Bradford, McNulty teamed up with Coventry this summer and will look to lead the line effectively this season. The Scot has found the net on a regular basis at all his former clubs and is certainly a lively presence in and around the area. With fine finishing ability and excellent movement he could prove a tricky opponent for the Blues’ backline.