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Match Previews

Carlisle Preview - A look at our next Papa John's Trophy opponents

3 January 2022

Match Previews

Carlisle Preview - A look at our next Papa John's Trophy opponents

3 January 2022

After an inactive festive period so far, we welcome in the New Year this weekend with a visit from Carlisle United in the last 16 of the Papa John's Trophy.

With our most recent three fixtures being postponed, Simon Weaver's side will be looking to build on their last showing two weeks ago which saw them progress in the competition thanks to a comeback 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers.

Our opponents

Carlisle come into the game on the back of a 1-0 away win at Scunthorpe on New Year's Day, a result that eased their relegation worries.

However, it has been a tricky first-half to the season for the Cumbrian side who won just twice in the first 18 games. New manager Keith Millen has helped turn things around and has engineered three wins in their past four games to leave them three points clear of the drop.

In the Papa John's Trophy, they finished top of Northern Group A with an unbeaten record having overcome Hartlepool, Morecambe and Everton under-21's. In the first knock-out round they triumphed against League One side Lincoln City 4-3 on penalties after the game had ended 1-1.

Earlier this season

Town secured an impressive away win at Brunton Park in late November thanks to second-half goals from George Thomson and Alex Pattison that saw them come out 2-0 winners.

The man in charge

United are managed by 55 year-old Keith Millen. Millen had a playing career that saw him make over 500 appearances for Brentford, Watford and Bristol City and upon his retirement, joined the coaching staff at Ashton Gate, also taking charge of nine games as caretaker manager.

Millen later became part of the backroom team at Crystal Palace, serving alongside Ian Holloway, Neil Warnock, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew. He was also assistant manager at MK Dons before replacing Chris Beech at Brunton Park in October.

Ones to Watch

Millen has an array of EFL experience in his squad which includes ex-Bradford City winger Jordan Gibson and striker Tristian Abrahams, both of whom have netted three goals this season.

Midfielders Brennan Dickerson and Callum Guy are key members of their midfield whilst Rod McDonald, who netted the winner against Scunthorpe at the weekend, has been a virtual ever-present in the heart of the defence.


Carlisle United were officially formed in 1904 and have featured mainly in Third Division during their 117 year existence. The 1973-74 season saw the Cumbrians promoted to the First Division for the first time but they'd only stay there for a year before relegation. 

Successive relegations in the 80s then saw Carlisle drop to the Fourth Division and it's where they stayed until winning the league as champions in 1995. The club then yoyoed in out of the third and fourth division until in 2004, their 76 year stay in the Football League came to end.

It was, however, a brief end as the club returned the following the season and then won the League Two title the year after. Carlisle would continue to be a League One club for the next eight seasons, winning the Football League Trophy in 2011 before relegation to League Two in the 2013/14 season.

Team News

Forward Aaron Martin remains on the sidelines with a knee injury while Simon Power is not yet ready to take part in full training following a quad injury he sustained before Christmas. However, defensive pair Will Smith and Rory McArdle have benefitted from recent postponements as both are set to return to the matchday squad.

Town also welcome back forward Mark Beck into the squad following the completion of his loan spell at York City.

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