Carlisle United (a) Preview
We make the long trip to Carlisle tomorrow to take on a team that sit one place and one point above us in the table and are, like ourselves, low on confidence.
The similarities between Orient and Carlisle at the minute are almost symmetrical. As I've mentioned, both teams sit very closely in the league table and win for either side at Brunton Park would not only boost morale but also push side away from any immediate trouble with the bottom four.
Having taken time to read the Internet, I have found that, like Orient, a number of Carlisle fans want their manager sacked after poor runs this season so the similarities stretch on. Carlisle fans have seen their side win one League One game in seven games whilst Orient fans have seen a bit more success, two wins in eight league games.
My earliest memory of Carlisle is as a seven year old watching Soccer Saurday in May 1999. Carlisle played Plymouth Argyle in the Third Division and needed to win to retain their place in the Football League. Deep into injury time, I remember Jeff Stelling going barmy and not really being able to get many words out as he tried to tell of developments at Brunton Park. A goal had been scored by Jimmy Glass. As a seven year-old I had really only any interest in who played for Orient so Glass was new to me but as Sky Sports showed thousands of fans flooding onto the pitch to get near their hero, the Carlisle United goalkeeper. That was the first time I'd ever heard of a keeper scoring and saw a pitch invasion. I knew at that point I wanted to join in on one but I had to wait till I was 14 at Oxford United.
After years of fighting for survival in the old Division Three, Carlisle were relegated to the Conference and it seems to have been the catalyst for reasonable success. Upon returning to the Football League, United went from strength to strength and earnt another
The game itself should see a couple of changes from the side that beat Gloucester in the Cup. I would expect Mathieu Baudry and Ryan Brunt to drop to the bench with Ben Chorley and Kevin Lisbie returning to the starting XI after being on the bench in midweek. I expect Dean Cox to keep his place in the starting line up after proving son influential in the beating of the non-league Gloucester side on Wednesday.
Looking at Carlisle's squad, they seem to have the same problem as Orient, good players on paper but players under performing on the field. Joe Garner was a player that fired Carlisle to promotion to League One and is joined by players like Paul Thirlwell, Peter Murphy, Jon-Paul McGovern and Andy Welsh who all have a decent enough record as League One players but for whatever reason aren't producing the goods this campaign.