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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Carlisle Preview

So was it a point gained or two lost? Parky seems to be happy with a point at Gillingham in what was a difficult away derby game with bad weather and a bumpy pitch to boot. But the stats on our recent goalscoring abilities continue to disappoint and now its 15 League One teams that have outscored us over the last eight games. And with only 2 wins and a massive 5 draws in those last eight our current form puts us down in 12th place, with a top six of Colchester, Southampton, Leeds, MK, Millwall and Norwich.

For Gods sake, Nels, give us some positives, you're souring me cafe. OK, if you need reassurance that things are simply going as planned, then it should be pointed out that, 5 of those 8 were against teams in the top nine and the others contained two draws with Pardews Saints plus a difficult away derby at Priestfield.

And to further set your mind at rest, after a mere 14 games out of 46, we've already played at 4 of the current six best home teams in the League ( Colchester, Leeds, Gillingham and Norwich) and now have a break of 4 months before we have to face another team in the current top nine home bankers with an unfortunate and horrendous four match sequence of visits to unbeaten at home Millwall and Huddersfield on March 13th and 27th, MK Dons on April 3rd and Southampton on April 10th.

In fact, Parky, I'm sorry to have to point out that that end of season away run coupled with successive closing season home games against Colchester, Norwich and Leeds all looks pretty tough to me so it seems even more vital that we press on and get some points now. And perhaps that was just Parky thinking behind his decision to go for an attacking 4-4-2 last weekend.

Anyway, we now face a gruelling away trip to 18th placed Carlisle, but with the comforting thought that despite last weekends win they are still 2nd to bottom over the last eight with only Wycombe behind them, with only 1 win during that run.

Full-time manager, at long last, for Carlisle is Greg Abbott, our third successive new boy, in charge since November last year at Brunton Park after two spells as caretaker manager. They eventually finished 20th last season in the last surviving place in the League One table but started the last day two points behind Northampton in 21st and needed a win over Millwall to have any chance of escaping relegation while their rivals, the Cobblers, faced a difficult away trip to Elland Rd.

The win was achieved 2-0 to move them to 50 points and leapfrog Northampton by a single point who meanwhile were losing 3-0 at Leeds.


And there seems more of the same this season because before Saturday Carlisle were on a disastrous run of 7 games without a win and were the worst home team in League One and Abbott's job was reportedly on the line. That changed with an inspired 2-1 win last weekend over Southend and they also climbed three places in the table and are now in 18th spot with 14 points and with a home record of 2 wins, 1 draw and 4 defeats. But there's still only one point that separates Carlisle from the drop zone and they are still in desperate straits.

Their only other home win was a 3-0 against hapless Tranmere back at the beginning of September that handed Tranmere their 5th straight defeat and all without scoring and it wasn't long before John Barnes paid the price. So what's the rest of their home record? Both Brentford 1-3 and Exeter 0-1 enjoyed early season wins at Brunton Park, as did Brighton 0-2 and Norwich 0-1 whilst Southampton could only draw 1-1 with a 96 minute equaliser from Jaidi.


The only living connection I can find with the Addicks is the 32 year old Irishman, Ian Harte. OK, he never actually played for us but he was "On Trial" during the autumn of 2008 but wasn't offered a job. Not surprising with Kelly making such a good job of left-back so Harte, who spent 3 eventful years at Spanish La Liga club Levante with whom he was relegated and promoted again before being sent packing by Abel Resino, the man making such a mess of managing Atletico Madrid at the moment, and joined Carlisle - must be something in the water. Meanwhile, by the time you read this, Resino will probably be out of a job, bringing a smile, perhaps to Harte's lips. Sorry, he's gone already, sacked last week.

The Opposition
There's 28 year old defender, number 6 Peter Murphy from Dublin who won one Irish cap for a first half performance against Bolivia in 2007. But since Staunton ended his brief 18 month spell as Irish manager he's not been asked again and is now sitting on Carlisle's bench. And another one with Irish caps, and also with Premiership games for Middlesbro' under his belt, is the experienced 35 year old Graham Kavanagh.

There's a couple of ex-Chelski teenagers that had to go elsewhere to get work experience and we've meet goalie number 40, Lenny Pidgeley, before when he came on as a late sub for Chelski against us in the last away game at Stamford Bridge in May 2005 when a late disputed penalty gave them a 1-0 win. The other one is the exotically named 19 year old Tom Taiwo, a midfielder.

Then there's the much travelled Vincent Péricard a striker from Cameroon who has played Champions League football (once) for Juventus and who started his career at St. Etienne in France. He's also played Premier football for Stoke and Portsmouth and was signed two weeks ago.

And one of the clashes of the day will see old mates (!) Kelly Youga up against winger Kevan Hurst. Two years ago they both played for Scunthorpe while Kelly was on his 6 month loan and we'll see how much Kelly has learnt from his northern experience.

Who's The Dangerman
Harte it is that takes all the penalties and, surprisingly
for a team that are the 21st top scorers in League One, he's got no less than 4 so far but out in front, at far as scoring is concerned, is the Scottish international with 6 caps, number nine Scott Dobie with 6 goals in total. Once a premiership player with West Brom - in one of the many seasons that they were relegated - he's returned to square one and Carlisle where he started as an apprentice in 1995.

But the Dangerman for me this week is newly arrived number 16 Vincent Pericard signed from Stoke two weeks ago. He's already scored on his home debut against Southend and alongside Dobie will pose a threat.

Whats Their Secret?
A very cautious team they've only scored 5 times during the first half in their 14 League games. And strangely only two of those goals were in their 6 home games and as a comparison the Addicks have netted 6 in the same period in our 7 away games.
In fact they are more successful on their travels away from Brunton Park with more goals scored and only 2 defeats in 7 games and with credible draws at both Leeds and Millwall.

We have a strange history at Carlisle with only two wins in a 2-6 record over the years (with 6 draws ) but with the only two wins coming in our promotion years of 1982 and 1986. And you won't need much reminding that on both occasions it was the 3 points won there that secured us the promotion. And it was on the 3rd May 1986 that we made our last visit to Brunton Park in what was one of our old bosses, the late Bob Stokoe, last home game in charge. This was nearly twenty years after he was sacked by us in September 1967 and he couldn't prevent his old charges from a 3-2 win after we had gone two goals down. Sadly as a consequence Carlisle were relegated.
Overall its 8-6 to the Addicks with 12 draws.
What are They Saying?
Striker Vincent Pericard on signing for the Cumbrians, "The manager knows I came here to work, score goals and get my career back on track," he told BBC Radio Cumbria. "I'm happy to make an impact, helping the team and the manager."

The Team
As we know Parky used an attack minded 4-4-2 last weekend at the Gills when we were all screaming for a return to 4-5-1. And he's rather shot himself in the foot because after our failure to score yet again ( thanks for the og Mr. Nutter) in the 1-1 draw he now has the difficult decision to make regarding the long trip to Carlisle.

Because in the game against Carlisle, which we surely have to win to stay in the top two, he feels that he has to use a 4-4-2 but clearly not one that didn't work last weekend.

There's a bit of a consensus that we shouldn't be knocking McLeod for missing the odd one or two but thats exactly how we behaved towards little Varney and it still sticks in my throat how he repaid the kindness by celebrating madly as the Derby last minute equaliser went in.
And a look around us in the table sees a veritable multitude of strikers who have got more than Deon. Leeds, Huddersfield and Southampton each have two strikers with more than 5. MK have Easter on 10 while Colchester have Lisbie on 8. Then there's Barnard, Jackson, Holt, Baker, Harris all on more than 5. OK, there's a lot of them that have scored from penalties but you get the point, we don't have a feared striker.

Parky will point to the fact that we have 10 players that have scored in the League, while all of Leeds, Colchester and MK only have 8 but the fact remains that its now 6 games since Deon scored and perhaps his hernia is troubling him more than we're told.

So will Parky wait till Northwich to try Mooney with a starting berth or will he try it this weekend because Deon could do with a break. And while we're about it, I'd really shake it up by playing Wagstaff from the off because all this doubling up on Sam is cramping his style and an unusual lineup will cause Carlisle a last minute inconvenient re-think and we can then bring a fresh Sam on in the second half.

So its a 4-4-2 with;

Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, Sodje, Youga; Sam, Semedo, Racon, Bailey; McLeod, Mooney.

A long trip to a ground where, apart from our promotion years, we haven't done well and against a team, and a manager, fighting for their lives. This won't be an easy game and that guy Péricard has me worried and it all looks like another score draw. But we've fallen 4 points behind Leeds now and, although Colchester have an even more uncomfortable game at MK Dons, Parky will know that our record of late badly needs improving.
A 2-1 away win then would fire up our promotion hopes but will we do it? 'Cause we will - Mooney and McLeod to score and Izzy to be yellow carded, and banned, again.


StoneMuse said...

Good review again. I'm going for 3-1 to us ... Izzy banned? Yeah, could well happen!

Phil - nothing else matters said...

Thanks for a comprehensive preview.

Mervyn Day was once their manager and provides a CAFC connection.

We really need to win this one !

nelson said...

3-1, SM? Yeh, you've seeing a couple from Izzy and the subsequent red card - will it be the first time that's happened, a red card for taking your shirt off twice? Well, to us anyway.