All you need to know ahead of the Cumbrians' visit
Luton Town v Carlisle United
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 14th February 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Hatters fifth; Carlisle 19th
• Town unbeaten in nine in League 2 (W3, D6)
• Carlisle won five and lost five of last 10
• No McNulty (suspended) and Doyle (injured) for Town
WHO?Carlisle United, aka the Cumbrians, aka the Blues, are the next visitors to Kenilworth Road when they make the 275-mile trip down to Bedfordshire on Saturday. Formed in 1904, their badge takes elements from the city’s coat of arms, including two wyverns which are the regent of Cumbria. United are back in League 2 this term after relegation from League 1 last season.
WHERE?Carlisle is a long way away so you might not know too much about it. It’s the city and county town of Cumbria and is just 10 miles south of the Scottish border. United spent one season – 1974/75 – in the top flight, which made the city the smallest location, by population, to have had a resident top-flight club in English football since 1906. United play their home games at Brunton Park, which has a capacity of over 18,000. Their average league gate this season is 4,298, but their highest gate of the season was the 6,760 for the Hatters’ first on the opening day of the campaign.
SINCE WE’VE BEEN GONE.In the years in which the Town were in of the Conference (United spent a season in that division, too, winning the Play-Offs in 2005), United enjoyed an eight-season spell in League 1. Carlisle won the League 2 title in 2006 and came close to reaching the third tier’s Play-Offs in 2011/12 when finishing eighth and four points off the top six. Success did come in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2010/11 – the Cumbrians’ second Football League Trophy triumph.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?The Hatters’ opening day of the season win at Brunton Park was the Town’s ninth win over the Cumbrians. Saturday’s game will be the 24th meeting between the two clubs. The Town hold the head-to-head advantage, winning nine to Carlisle’s six – eight games have finished all square. At Kenilworth Road, Saturday’s visitors have won twice before – but not since a 1-0 win back in 1972. Since then the Hatters have won five and drawn two of the last seven meetings at Kenilworth Road. Included in those are a 6-1 win in September 1973 and a 5-0 win in March 1977.
THIS TIME ROUND.Many were expecting Carlisle to be challenging for an immediate return to League 1 but the Brunton Park faithful have been left frustrated with a season of struggle. Graham Kavanagh was axed in September and was replaced by Keith Curle. United’s form has improved under Curle as Carlisle edge away from the relegation zone. On Tuesday they let a 1-0 lead slip in injury time and lost to Shrewsbury.
CLUB CONNECTIONS.Few players have held the distinction of playing for both the Hatters and Carlisle during their careers. As far as we can fathom, only three have enjoyed permanent spells and made a significant contribution with both clubs: Dixie Deans, Jack Lornie and Alan McBain. Deans, now 68, was prolific for Motherwell and Celtic before moving to Kenilworth Road in 1976 for a brief spell that saw him score six times in 14 matches.
DID YOU KNOW?United have reached the final of the Football League (JPT as know now) Trophy a record six times, winning twice – in 1997 and 2011 – and losing four times – in 1995, 2003, 2006 and 2010. Their 1995 defeat to Birmingham was the first time a Wembley final was decided by a golden goal when Birmingham scored their winner.
MILESTONES. Jake Howells is in line to make his 305th appearance for the Town. Mark Tyler will play his 264th match for the Hatters while Luke Guttridge will make his 50th appearance for the club should he feature.
REF WATCH. James Linington makes his first visit to Kenilworth Road since officiating what was previously the Hatters’ last home Football League game in prior to relegation from the Conference – the 1-1 draw with Rochdale in 2009. He also oversaw the 2-1 home defeat against Darlington the same season. This campaign the whistler has been mostly in action in the Championship, and has taken charge of 26 games in which he has shown 68 yellow cards and brandished seven reds.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Town will be without captain Stephen McNulty for the first of four matches after his appeal against the red card shown to him against York was dismissed by the Football Association. Fellow centre-half Luke Wilkinson is struggling with a groin injury. Midfielder Nathan Doyle is also definitely out after picking up a knee injury against York and will be out for at least three weeks. Scott Griffiths is available again after illness, while Paul Benson – who broke his leg against Mansfield 10 weeks ago – is back in full training.
TICKETS PLEASE. or call 01582 416976.Click here to buy onlineThere are tickets left for this match from the Luton Town ticket office.
Hatters PlayerLIVE AND ONLINE. is the only place to listen to online commentary of the Hatters this season and once again the DiverseFM team will be bringing subscribers all the action from Kenilworth Road. What’s more there will be a full report, reaction and photographs post-match and live text updates during the match itself.
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