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Carlisle United 1 v 1 Colchester United
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 10th February 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Carlisle Vs U's - Durham's Preview
Friday, 9th Feb 2018 15:20 by Durham Exile

John McGreal takes his reinvigorated side to Cumbria this Saturday for an important game against Carlisle United. The Cumbrians are managed by Keith Curle and suffered a 4-3 reversal against the Chairboys with two very late goals sealing the win for the home side. JM please take note about late goals!

Encouraging news about Louis Dunne, who after suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in training has had a successful operation. Sam Walker and Brennan Dickenson have also suffered the same injury, the latter continues his rehabilitation and maybe back against Coventry City next Tuesday.

It is also 1000 games up for Colchester physio Tony Flynn (60 this year). Tony joined the U’s in the 2006 season and was a part of the Championship campaign as well as an almost ever present since. Only three games missed for family weddings. Congratulations Tony and Up the U’s.

Amongst Keith Curle’s players is one Jamal Campbell-Ryce (JCR) who played at Wycombe last week. JCR of course played at Yeovil in May 2006 whilst on loan from Southend and has always seemed to pop up for different teams that we have played against ever since. Let’s hope he has a quiet game on Saturday.

Keith Curle was at Swansea on Tuesday to watch Notts Co, who they play soon and would have enjoyed their 8-1 mauling at the hands of the Swans. He will be keen to put the disappointment of Saturday behind him when the Super U’s come to town this weekend.

Sam Walker has now clocked up 200 games for the U’s and is probably in the form of his career at present. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season and according to the stats in the Times this week has made 109 saves so far this season. Rene Gilmartin is most definitely responsible for his improved form.

Sean Murray, sadly, will be out for some games yet with his injury and Ryan Inniss may also be back within the next fortnight.

On the managerial front Mick McCarthy seems to be in the frame for the Tyke’s job at Oakwell and the board of directors at Poorman Road have expressed interest in JM. We will have to watch this space carefully for impending news.

There are several managers looking for jobs including; Paul Clement, Garry Monk, Simon Grayson, Phil Brown, Brian Laws and Paul Buckle. The Doog of course bleeds blue and white and mustn’t be ruled out but until the Barnsley situation become clearer there is nothing more to add.

JM will I hope be clearer about his starting XI for the Carlisle game and will now know much more about our new players; Liam Mandeville, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Ben Stevenson and the still injured winger Olamide Shodipo.

Tomorrow is the start of our last 15 league games.

The table stands thus:

Luton 31 63
Wycombe 30 55
Accrington 30 55
Notts Co 30 54
Mansfield 30 53
Exeter 29 51
Swindon 31 51
Coventry 30 50
Lincoln 30 49
COLCHESTER 31 46
Newport 31 46

15 games sounds like a lot and it is potentially 45 points but realistically we need to achieve another 30 points to make 76 and an assured top seven finish. That means another 10 victories, and this means consistent form not a draw here and a defeat etc.

We are of course 5 points off the top seven and 8 points off the top three but have played at least one game more than our rivals.

Breaking the 15 games into bite size chunks of 3 games suggests that our next six games are more straightforward than the next six and the last three are positively dynamite. JM will need his best team and for them to be firing on all cylinders if we are to achieve a promotion result.

Carlisle A
Coventry H
Crewe A

Barnet H
Morecambe A
Mansfield A

Yeovil H
Stevenage A
Luton H

Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H

Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Returning to February in Carlisle and given that the weather will be 7 degrees Celsius and wet tomorrow may influence JM’s thinking.

I would hope that he plays an adventurous 3,4,3 formation along these lines:

Walker

Eastman Kent Prosser (capt)

Jackson Lapslie Stevenson Vincent-Young

Senior Guthrie Mandeville

Subs:
Gilmartin Comley Kpekawa Szmodics Ogedi-Uzokwe Mandron Wright

I know that there is a clamour for Junior and Senior to start, but I think that JM will be slightly more conservative in his thinking. It is true though that JM has an embarrassment of riches to choose from and when Dickenson returns the competition will only intensify.

The January signing s have been made to achieve a top seven finish at the very least. JM expressed frustration that two players on the U’s radar recently went to League One clubs. That proves that we must get out of this basement league this season.

A safe journey to all the travelling faithful tomorrow. At just 54 miles this is about my shortest Away journey. The weather this week has been changeable, and we have seen plenty of snow showers but very little has stuck.

Three points tomorrow would be very welcome and get the promotion push ready for the tough game against the Sky Blues on Tuesday evening.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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