Morecambe tomorrow face a side from a neighbouring county that just missed out on promotion last season, in the Checkatrade Trophy at the Globe Arena (7:45pm kick off).
Carlisle United enjoyed the first half of the 2016/17 season as they sat in the top 3 most of the time. Keith Curle’s side were unbeaten for the first 15 games of the season in the league, and they found themselves in the top three in League 2 for five months. The Cumbrians went into the Christmas month of December in top spot, and promotion was looking likely. Unfortunately for them, it all went to pot in 2017 as they won just six out of 23 games and only booked their place in the play-offs because of wins against Newport County and Exeter City in the last two games of the season. Keith Curle’s side were knocked out by the latter in the play-offs, losing 6-5 on aggregate following two very close Semi Final legs.
Their record in cup competitions last season was good – getting past the first round of every cup competition. They took Derby County to penalties in the League Cup second round losing 14-13, whilst they topped Group D in the Checkatrade Trophy with wins over Oldham Athletic, Blackburn Rovers U23s and Fleetwood Town. They were knocked out by Mansfield Town with a 3-2 loss in the first knockout round of the competition.
Charlie Wyke was the club’s top scorer last season with 18 goals, despite leaving for Bradford City on transfer deadline day in January.
Summer transfer business
Carlisle lost three key players at the end of last season. Keeper Mark Gillespie, striker Jabo Ibehre and defender Michael Raynes all rejected new deals and manager Keith Curle has been forced to replace them. The former England international has brought in eight players including 23-year-old shot-stopper Jack Bonham on loan from Brentford along with forwards Hallam Hope and Richie Bennett from Bury and Barrow respectively. Raynes has been replaced by Tom Parkes who has joined from now National League side Leyton Orient.
Their start to the season
The Blues have had a strong start to the season. To supplement an unbeaten pre-season, the Cumbrian side have won two of their first four league games and currently occupy 11th place in the League 2 standings. They made it to the second round of the Carabao Cup – defeating Fleetwood Town 2-1 after extra time before a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Championship side Sunderland last Tuesday. Former Shrimps forward Shaun Miller is currently the side’s top scorer with three goals in all competitions and they come to the Globe Arena tomorrow in a fairly strong position.
It isn’t all hunky-dory for Keith Curle’s side as last time out they suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat against Lincoln City at Sincil Bank with their only goal of the game coming from Reggie Lambe.
How they’ve fared against Morecambe
In 11 meetings between the two sides in the 21st century, Carlisle have won four, whilst Morecambe have won one and there have been six draws. They’ve faced each other before in the Checkatrade Trophy’s predecessor, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, in 2009 where Carlisle won 4-2 on penalties in the encounter at Christie Park. In the last meeting between the two sides, they shared the points as Charlie Wyke cancelled out Aaron Wildig’s early opener at Brunton Park.
Is another draw on the cards? Let’s find out…