Second-placed Stevenage travel to Cumbria to face third-placed Carlisle in a crucial Sky Bet League Two clash…
Boro sit just two points above the Cumbrians as the race for automatic promotion reaches boiling point. Steve Evans’ side come into this match after two comfortable home victories against Walsall and Crewe, and they look to be regaining form.
After a 20th place finish in Sky Bet League Two last campaign, Carlisle went into this season looking to drastically improve. Under Paul Simpson, they have done exactly that as they currently sit third in the table after winning eighteen from thirty-five league matches. The Cumbrians are the current top scorers in Sky Bet League Two, having netted fifty-eight over the course of the season.
Carlisle have picked up twelve points from a possible twelve in their last four matches, with their most recent victory coming last weekend in a 2-1 win away to Swindon. Before that, The Cumbrians welcomed Grimsby to Brunton Park before Alfie McCalmont and Jordan Gibson’s first-half goals rounded off a 2-0 victory.
Paul Simpson took over as Carlisle boss in February 2022 when the side were in the relegation zone and, similarly to Steve Evans at Stevenage, has guided his side up the table in a relatively short period of time. As a player, Simpson appeared over 120 times for Manchester City in the 1980s and ended his playing career at Brunton Park.
Boro and The Cumbrians have become very familiar with each other over the past decade, but the 2004/05 Conference campaign was the first time the two clubs met. In both league fixtures, Stevenage pulled off 2-1 victories but ultimately when the sides met in the play-off final, Carlisle got the last laugh.
From eleven attempts, Stevenage have won at Brunton Park on just three occasions. In the 2017/18 campaign, Darren Sarll’s Boro travelled north and picked up a 2-0 victory, with Tom Pett and Ben Kennedy grabbing the goals. Terence Vancooten made just his second league start for Stevenage on that day.
This season’s reverse fixture went in Boro’s favour as they earned themselves a 2-1 victory at the Lamex Stadium, with wing-backs Max Clark and Kane Smith getting on the scoresheet.
Carlisle have played their home matches at Brunton Park since it was built in 1909. It is the largest football stadium in England which is not all-seater, and has a capacity of 17,949. A record attendance of 27,500 was set in 1957 as Carlisle hosted Birmingham City.
Tom Reeves has been appointed Match Referee for tomorrow’s match with Mark Cunliffe and Blake Antrobus as his assistants, and Darren Handley as Fourth Official. Reeves has handed out ninety-five yellow cards and four reds in twenty-nine matches this season.