The Cumbrians are not a team with any great history behind it but they have done more than Plymouth for example by enjoying - well that's a bit debatable as they finished bottom - a season in top flight football back in 1974/75 and we all know what happens to teams that finish bottom. Since then they've had a topsy-turby 21st century with eventual relegation to the Conference in 2004 but like their stay in Tier One they didn't stay long and they had an immediate return the year after by winning the Play-offs. They then won Tier Four the next season and have now spent 5 years in Tier Three making the Play-off semis in 2007/8 but losing to Leeds. They finished 14th last season.
Unbeaten in their first seven league games, a run which took them up to 2nd a week ago but they slipped up last weekend with a 1-2 defeat at Exeter and now have exactly the same home record as the Addicks with 3 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat against the Posh 0-1. But they have conceded the least home goals in Tier Three (along with Wednesday) with only 2 goals let in in nine hours of football.
One constant about the top two teams is that they have quite a lot of ever-presents. The Cumbrians have a small squad and currently have no less than 8 ever-presents so there should be no excuses this week about unexpected triangles because barring any injuries its hugely possible that we'll see goalkeeper Adam Collin, defenders Simek, McDaid and Chester, midfielders Berrett, Taiwo and Zoko and striker Madine.
We couldn't stop McGleish, Harley or Wright-Philips - all top 20 goalscorers in Tier Three - so how will we do against the enormous 6' 5", 20 year old number 19 Gary Madine. He's currently the Divisions second top scorer with 6 goals behind Craig Mackail-Smith of the Posh.
Second in the table in clean sheets with 6 and second in the table of goals conceded with just 8 goals let in - the Addicks have now conceded seventeen..
First thing to regret is that it isn't a cup game, 'cause we had four against the Cumbrians and won them all, three at the Valley and one up there. As for the League we lost our first ever game at Brunton Park 1-3 on New Years Day 1966 and almost exactly a year ago lost the last one by the same score. In between we've won just two of the other 13 league games, the first in 1981, 2-1 and then in 1986, 3-2. But that last one won't be forgotten quickly as it was the one that got us promoted to the top flight, still called Division One in those days, after 29 years away.
We should have a strike force up for it this weekend as not only is Pawel on a high after seeing his goal at MK Dons in the last 10 for the Paint competition goal of the round but Joe Anyinsah will also be going back to play against his mentor and ex-manager Greg Abbott. Our 26 year old number 23 had his best ever spell at Brunton Park scoring 13 goals there last season and how he performs, for he's sure to see some action, could be key to our hopes.
So in taking Gus's line all we can do is do our bit and raise the spirits by pointing out that a couple of weeks ago Hartlepool, after a recent 0-4 home defeat at the hands of Carlisle, had a long trip to Plymouth four days later and won 1-0. And its not unusual to see Brighton win at the Valley, even the spanners with only 2 wins in their last 10 visits can't get anywhere near Brightons record of 5 in their last 10.
Elliot; Francis, Dailly, Doherty, Fry; Martin, Semedo, McCormack, Jackson; Benson, Abbott.
After last weekends pounding, Curbs would have engineered a goalless draw or three. Can Parky do the same? With Reid missing, and facing a settled side, a crowded midfield prepared to do battle seems in order but where are Holland and Kish (not to mention Parker) to do it for us. Will Parky drop Racon and recall McCormack?
A rather surprising eight out of 38 punters on CAFCPicks saw a win back in the summer and they do include the leading man Major Ken with nine forecasts right so far. A 0-0 draw is all we can hope for but I doubt we can achieve it. A 0-2 defeat for the Addicks and more doom and gloom on the northern horizon.