The Opposition View: Carlisle United

Last updated : 04 August 2016 By Jim Bonner

What are your hopes and expectations for the upcoming campaign?

Most of us hope for promotion and expect to at least challenge for it. We were disappointed in the way we faded as play-off contenders towards the end of last season but were happy generally with the way the season went, and with having improved in Curle's first full season we expect to improve further in his second.

How much pressure is Keith Curle under to deliver this season?

He's not under too much pressure as he's delivered pretty much everything he promised since taking over and is liked by most of the fans. That said there are now expectations where there previously weren't, so he won't get much leniency should we fail to meet them.

Are you happy with your club's transfer activity during the summer?

I am; for the first time in recent memory I'm impressed by the quality of players we've been able to bring in. I thought signing Jamie Devitt was a bit of a coup and with him and Adams having the 3rd and 1st highest number of assists last season and Shaun Miller being the man on the end of many of Devitt's assists for Morecambe; and other players like Penn and Jones who have good experience, I've been impressed.

Who are the key players in the current Carlisle squad?

I think it's still going to be Jabo (Ibhere), our previous season was built mostly on his goals and we struggled when they stopped coming. We have more options up-front now though.

Judging by last season and pre-season, what do you think your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses are?

Last season we were set up to score goals and not so bothered about conceding them, and that worked for the first half of the season. In the second half we struggled a bit for goals and had to go a bit more negative to stop conceding so many.

Hopefully we'll still play attacking football but maybe get the balance a bit better this time around. I haven't seen us at all in pre-season as we don't play home friendlies any more it seems.

What do you make of Pompey's prospects this season and how tough do you think the match will be?

This seems to be the season Pompey have been waiting for. I've always felt Pompey going up was 'when' rather than 'if' but you seem to have a better manager than you've had previously and I expect you'll be champions. For us, meeting you at Fratton Park this early on could be the best thing. Maybe we'll catch you before your squad fully gels, or you'll still have some remnants of the home form that cost you a bit last season.

Predict the outcome of the game.

 I'm going to optimistically predict a 1-1 draw, with Smith opening the scoring early for Portsmouth and Jabo grabbing an equaliser in the second half.