Match Preview: Carlisle United v Northampton Town

Carlisle United v Northampton Town: League One

A beauty of a 3-0 win over Fleetwood last weekend took the Cobblers to the heady heights of the top half of the League One table. A brace from Mitch Pinnock and a Sam Hoskins penalty was enough to see off the beleaguered Cod Army and the sight of Town above that half way line in the standings was a joy to behold. The difficult thing now is to stay there through what looks set to be a tricky winter fixture list, starting with the long trip to Carlisle on Saturday. 

The hammering at home to Portsmouth is the only recent blot on our copy book and Jon Brady’s side has probably the most well balanced feel to it since the start of the campaign. Jon Guthrie has slowly been reintroduced, Jack Sowerby has enabled the side to flourish, Marc Leonard has a new lease of life in the number ten role and Sam Hoskins continues to rack up the plaudits, break records and take home awards. 

All feels pretty rosy going into Christmas but Brady won’t want anyone resting on laurels as we look to pull further away from the relegation battle. If we come away from Brunson Park with another three points then we might even be able to breath and look up rather than down as we reach the half way point! 

The Opposition

Carlisle followed the Cobblers to League One last season so we know all about what a hard working unit they are under the much heralded Paul Simpson.  Simpson has taken them from the brink of relegation to the National League to the League Two playoffs where they came through a double header of Bradford and Stockport to elevate themselves into the third tier back in May. 

The tense penalty shootout victory over Stockport to seal it may have meant that they were a few weeks behind most of their rivals in League One in terms of transfers but the scenes under the arch will live with their loyal as passionate fan base forever and their sole aim now is survival. 

Helping them to do that is a new ownership group headed up by American Tom Piatek, who completed his long mission to finalise a deal with the club back in November. Fresh hope has sprung with off-field improvements already in place and a promise of a whole host of new faces in January when the transfer window opens. 

Their first priority is to help the U’s to safety and, with only three league wins so far this season, there’s a big effort needed to provide a platform for any new arrivals to pass the initial test of the new owner’s reign. With that strong fan base still behind Simpson and embracing Piatek and family, there’s every reason to believe that the New Year will bear a lot of fruit for United. 

Let’s hope we’ve caught them before any of that process begins!

Last Time Out

The Cobblers saw off Fleetwood Town 3-0 at Sixfields last weekend while Carlisle fell to a 3-0 defeat at Blackpool. 

One To Watch

Jordan Gibson’s performances have provided some surprising highlights in Carlisle’s season so far and he currently sits on five goals for the Cumbrians. 

Gibson only scored twice in the entirety of last season but has stepped up this time out, even being nominated for the League One Player of the Month last month after scoring a hattrick at Bolton and setting up a winner against Burton Albion.

Team News

Carlisle could well be without Owen Moxen, who left the pitch during the 3-0 defeat at Blackpool with a hip injury that’s been affecting him all season. Paul Huntington and Taylor Charters are also likely to sit out again while JJ Kayode is another on his way back but not quite ready yet. Callum Guy is a long term absentee and had surgery on Wednesday on his ACL injury. In better news for the Cumbrians, Jack Ellis is back in the frame and available for selection.

Lee Burge, Aaron McGowan and Danny Hylton are all close to returning to the Cobblers side according to Jon Brady but Ben Fox and Ali Koiki will be missing until at least the end of January. Tyler Magloire has stepped up his rehab but we won’t see him back on the pitch for a few more months yet.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Daniel Middleton takes charge of this one on Saturday. This is his first Cobblers game having spent most of his career before this season on the National League list. Jake Topp and Graeme Fyvie are running the lines and Alex Gray is fourth official. 

Prediction

After Paul Simpson’s impassioned message to Carlisle fans after last weekend, home fans should be up for this one so I’m going for a draw to keep us on the right path. 1-1

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