City’s ability to grind out wins continued on Saturday with a hard fought 1-0 victory at Newport, which means Matt Taylor’s side are five points clear of fourth place with a game in hand over most of the other sides chasing. It is in buoyant mood, therefore, that City embark on the long trip to Carlisle, with Taylor’s options increasing due to the return from suspension of Nigel Atangana. Padraig Amond too will be available having missed the Newport trip due to loan rules. Callum Rowe kept his place for the Newport match mainly as Taylor wanted to counter Newport’s narrow system, so he may make way on Saturday for Matt Jay with Tim Dieng, once again City’s scorer last week, returning to his regular central role.
For a long time Carlisle looked in serious danger of dropping into non-league for the second time, but the reappointment of Paul Simpson, the man who took them from the Conference to League One back in the mid-2000s, has seen the Cumbrians pull well clear of the drop with six wins in their last nine matches including victories over the likes of Northampton and Bristol Rovers. With the pressure off they have failed to win their last two games, a 2-0 defeat at Rochdale and a 2-2 draw with a Tranmere side reduced to nine men, so City will be hoping their relative safety has led to an easing off of intensity. A regular scorer has been an issue with nobody in double figures – Patrick Omari is top scorer with eight. One player hoping to feature is Brennan Dickenson, who enjoyed a short but successful spell at City a couple of seasons back.
City were victorious in the reverse fixture, going 2-0 up through Nombe and Caprice’s first senior goal after Mellish had seen red for the visitors before Gibson reduced the arrears late on. Carlisle ran out 1-0 winners in this fixture last season through Lewis Alessandra. City have the lead in league head to heads, 27-20, with 17 matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Tom Nield
Assistant Referees: Simon Clayton and Ivan Stankovic
Fourth Official : Graeme Fyvie
Tom Nield has refereed five Exeter games, see https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=nield