Carlisle vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 24 February 2017

Pompey travel to Brunton Park to take on third-placed Carlisle United in a pivotal game in the automatic promotion race.

Team News

Paul Cook may make one or two changes for the trip to Cumbria following a dismal performance at Barnet. Conor Chaplin will be hoping to start after bailing his team out with his late screamer last Saturday whilst Stanley Abroah has travelled with the squad.

Keith Curle is likely to name an unchanged side after two important wins over Doncaster and Wycombe.

The Match

Nobody needs reminding of how important tomorrow's match is, with Pompey currently six points behind their opponents with a game in hand. Defeat for Paul Cook's men probably signals the end of their promotion challenge, despite the manager claiming otherwise.

Unfortunately, it seems the Cumbrians have recovered from their slump which saw them draw games against the ten men of Barnet and Morecambe on their own turf, with two impressive victories over leaders Doncaster and at Wycombe to maintain their grip on third place for now.

That's not to say Pompey can't go to Carlisle and win. Whilst Saturday's performance at Barnet was abysmal, it was a physical game where the ball spent a lot of time in the air. Tomorrow's match should be a complete contrast as the home side like to play a more attractive style of attacking football, which might play into Pompey's hands.

Whilst they may have lost Charlie Wyke to Bradford, Carlisle still have plenty of attacking talent in their side with the likes of Jabo Ibhere and Reggie Lambe capable of finding the net. However, Jamie Proctor, a one-time Pompey target, will be the one to watch given his record of two goals in three games for the Cumbrians.

Despite Carlisle's attacking talent, Pompey still boast the best defensive record in the division and, David Forde errors aside, will be difficult to score against. They should be able to create chances against a side that is more-than-generous when it comes to defending, too, but whether they're taken or not is a different matter completely.

A draw wouldn't be the worst result tomorrow so long as Pompey can win their next two games. A win would really be a statement of intent going into the "business end" of the season, however.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Carlisle

GK: Mark GILLESPIE

RB: Gary LIDDLE

CB: Michael RAYNES

CB: Shaun BRISLEY

LB: Macauley GILLESPHEY

DM: Mike JONES

DM: Luke JOYCE

RM: John O'SULLIVAN

AM: Reggie LAMBE

LM: Nicky ADAMS

CF: Jamie PROCTOR

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Amine LINGANZI

RM: Carl BAKER

AM: Gary ROBERTS

LM: Kal NAISMITH

CF: Eoin DOYLE

Last Time: Carlisle United 2 Portsmouth 2 (League Two - 21/11/2015)

Danny Grainger's penalty before the break gave the hosts the lead but the game turned on its head in the second half when Caolan Lavery turned in Ben Tollitt's cross for the equaliser and Marc McNulty scored a minute later.

Unfortunately, as was habit last season, Pompey conceded in the final minute of stoppage time when Grainger lashed in an equaliser from distance to make the journey home seem much longer for travelling fans.

My Prediction

This should be a good game and whilst a win would be a truly excellent result, a draw is the most likely outcome.

Carlisle United 1 Portsmouth 1

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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