After the nadir of the Oxford debacle, City have picked themselves up with seven points from their last three fixtures to raise hopes of a late charge towards the playoffs. Paul Tisdale has continued to shuffle his squad, but one youngster has suddenly thrust himself into the limelight – Ollie Watkins has been City’s goalscoring hero in the last two matches and has made huge strides towards a permanent place in the line-up while earning plaudits from team mates such as Clinton Morrison on Channel Five last weekend. If Watkins doesn’t start on Saturday there may well be a mutiny in the massed ranks of the City support. Elsewhere David Noble was left on the bench at Cambridge and will be itching to play, while Tisdale may look to counter the threat of loanee Alex Gilliead (assuming he starts) by playing Jordan Moore-Taylor at left back instead of veterans Craig Woodman or Jamie McAllister, which may mean either Arron Davies or Tom McCready play at right back with Christian Ribeiro moving into the middle.
Carlisle, under the management of former England defender Keith Curle, started the season well but have tailed off a bit in recent months, recording just three victories in 2016 so far, and sit in 11th place in the table still just two points outside the playoffs although they missed a golden chance to move level on points with 7th placed Wimbledon after a 0-0 draw with basement club Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night. The main goalscoring threat is Jabo Ibehre, the former Leyton Orient striker has 15 goals in all competitions to his name, while Charlie Wyke and Derek Asamoah will also need to be watched closely. There’s the possibility of a pair of former City players featuring – Mark Ellis never made an appearance for City having been snapped up by Bolton while still a youth player, but should Troy Archibald-Henville appear he will be welcomed warmly by the City faithful.
The aforementioned Gilliead was City’s tormenter in chief, the Newcastle winger capping a fine display with the winner in a 1-0 victory for the Cumbrians, while the corresponding fixture last season saw City win 2-0 with goals from Bennett and Grimes. City have an overall league head-to-head lead with 22 wins to Carlisle’s 17 (14 draws).
The match officials will be:-
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley
Assistant Referee: Brett Huxtable and Neil Radford
Fourth Official Adam Bromley
He’s refereed four Exeter games (see here) including Exeter’s fine win at Fratton Park earlier this season.
Details of last season’s game at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=4157