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PREVIEW | CARLISLE UNITED

A look ahead at tomorrow’s long trip to Cumbria against Keith Millen’s Carlisle

14 January 2022

THE OPPOSITION

Callum Guy - Central Midfield

Nottingham-born Callum Guy began his career at Derby County, where he remained until 2019. He moved up through the age groups with the Rams and had loan spells at Port Vale and Bradford City, gaining vital league experience. He made 28 appearances for these two clubs before being sent out on his final loan spell to Blackpool. This proved to be Guy’s break as he impressed for the Tangerines and was signed permanently just one day after his loan spell ended. He made 45 appearances in Lancashire, scoring once and assisting four times over the course of the season and a half he spent there. He was signed up by the Blues in January 2020 and made 47 appearances in his first full season, finishing top of Sky Bet League Two’s assist chart last campaign. However, having taken on a more defensive role, Guy has only recorded one assist so far this season.

Jon Mellish - Central Midfield/Striker

Jon Mellish finished as the Blues’ top goal scorer last season with 14 goals in 47 appearances, and has scored three so far this season, suffering due to Carlisle’s slow start to the season. He came through National League North side Gateshead’s youth system and played 58 times for the Heed Army over the course of a three-year period. This stint was broken up by two loan spells to step nine side Newcastle Benfield FC through 2017 and 2018. He then spent another year with Gateshead before signing for Carlisle United in May of 2019. A versatile and left-footed player, Mellish began his career playing further forward before Ex-United manager Chris Beech converted him to a defensive midfielder where he continues to pose a threat going forward. However, under new management, in recent fixtures in which Carlisle have had an upturn in form, Mellish has featured in a second striker role, supporting the likes of Tyrese Omotoye and Sam Fishburn up top.

THE MANAGER - Keith Millen

In late October 2021, the blues appointed experienced coach Keith Millen to replace Chris Beech at Brunton Park.

As a player, Croydon-born Millen, 55, cut his teeth in the game as a youngster with Brentford and Palace, and went on to serve the Bees for almost 11 seasons, scoring 20 goals in close to 400 appearances.

He moved to Watford at the beginning of 1994 and stayed at Vicarage Road for just over five years, earning status as a favourite when he helped to steady the ship and avoid relegation during his first season with the Hornets.

Two successful promotion campaigns and an eye-catching brand of football further cemented his status with the fans as he became an ever-present at the heart of the back line. He ended his playing career at Ashton Gate, with 75 games in four seasons with Bristol City, and he then made the smooth transition into the coaching set-up with the club.

Two spells as caretaker manager followed, and he was made permanent manager following the unexpected departure of Steve Coppell in October 2010.

He held that post for a year, before moving on to work under Neil Warnock and Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace, via interim coaching appointments at Spurs and Portsmouth. He had three separate spells as caretaker with Palace.

Another caretaker period came during his stay with MK Dons, when Dan Micciche left by mutual consent in April 2018, and his most recent coaching appointments were in Sweden, where he worked with Halmstad. His efforts there caught the attention of Gothenburg-based Örgryte, who offered him the role as manager.

THE HISTORY

It is no secret that Crawley’s past form against the Cumbrians isn’t the best read, as Carlisle have proved to be a bogey team of sorts over the years of competitive football we have shared since we were promoted to the football league. Before this season’s dramatic win, our last triumph against Carlisle came in 2012, when we played at Brunton Park in League One action as Nathan Byrne and Nicky Adams scored in an impressive 0-2 away win. 

Since that day, Crawley have won just once in fifteen meetings with the Cumbrians - a crazy record that kept extending in recent years, before September’s 2-1 win at The People’s Pension Stadium. Last season we lost out on both occasions, home and away, as John Yems labelled them at the time as one of the best sides in the league.

On September 11, 2021, Crawley had the wonders of Nick Tsaroulla to thank for a long-awaited three points against the Blues. Tom Nichols opened the scoring after the half-hour mark with a beautiful volley straight from the corner ball, before dangerman Jon Mellish found space to fire past a helpless Morris.

However after 90 minutes had been played, full-back Nick Tsaroulla cannoned an effort into the far corner from outside the box before wheeling away in celebration in front of the Crawley fans. A dramatic ending to a great win in our sixth league game of the season.

FORM GUIDE 

After a winless streak of six games, Crawley have turned it around since late November, winning four, including a current three-game win streak, drawing two and losing just once. The Reds come into this fixture on the back of three impressive league wins against more local opposition in Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Northampton Town, and John Yems has labelled them as different types of victories.

Carlisle are also coming into the fixture on the back of three consecutive league wins, despite having a poor start to the season which saw them floating dangerously above the relegation spaces. Within these three wins, Millen’s side have also kept three clean sheets, defeating Stevenage away by a 0-2 scoreline, Scunthorpe away 0-1 and Bradford City at home 2-0.

20-year-old Scottish full-back Jack Armer got all the plaudits in their last competitive fixture against Bradford last Saturday, as he provided the assists for both Carlisle goals, setting up both Jordan Gibson and the returning Omari Patrick, a player that was a huge threat against the Reds last season before his summer departure to Burton Albion. Patrick was recently loaned back to Cumbria where he plays his best football.

HOW THEY BET*

Carlisle United 11/10

Draw 9/4

Crawley Town 12/5

*Odds of betting partners SkyBet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.


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