Return: Shaun Miller will be available again after a four-match ban
Keith Curle has admitted he will have some selection headaches for tomorrow’s crucial match against Crawley.
The Carlisle manager will have Shaun Miller back at his disposal, having completed his four-match ban, as the Cumbrians desperately look to revive their League Two play-off push at the Checkatrade.com Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Nicky Adams returned to the fray for Carlisle on Monday and, fresh from being selected in the Professional Footballers’ Association League Two Team of the Year, will be looking to earn a place in the starting line-up as he returns to one of his old stomping grounds.
Meanwhile, Macaulay Gillesphey also returned for United, last time out against Stevenage.
With Mike Jones the only player expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season, the likes of injured duo Tom Miller and Jason Kennedy alongside Alex McQueen and Junior Joachim all didn’t even make Curle’s most recent 18-man squad.
And the Blues boss, who changed formation to play three at the back in Carlisle’s 1-1 draw in their last match, said: “I have got to do my job now.
“I thought the shape suited us on Monday. I thought the shape was good, I thought the application was good, the players were excellent.
“The way we wanted to play football was very good and we were an attacking threat.
“Within that, we nullified a very strong, mobile, combative team down to probably a header in the first half and a dubious penalty decision.”
Carlisle fell behind when a controversial penalty was awarded against Reggie Lambe on Easter Monday, with Stevenage’s Steve Schumacher converting the spot-kick.
The Boro could have opened up a two-goal cushion, only for goalkeeper Mark Gillespie to make a vital save as the Cumbrians fought back to earn a point.
And Curle praised keeper Gillespie for the stop.
“I think it shows we are getting back to where we need to be. We are getting important, big players playing their part now,” the United manager said.
“Mark Gillespie, when we need Mark, he was excellent. That save one-on-one was worthy of being a match-winning save. Jabo [Ibehre] and Jamie Proctor’s combination for the goal could win any game, a goal of that quality.”
Curle added: “So, the pleasing thing, as a manager, I have to sit back [and say] the level of performance I was happy with.
“We looked an attacking force, we looked an attacking threat and we looked solid at the back.
“We looked creative in midfield and we were able to stifle the way they wanted to play the game. So, there were pleasing aspects to come out of it. But yes, we want to score more goals.”
But Carlisle have still only registered one win in over two months and will almost certainly have to get back to winning ways this weekend if they are to make the play-offs, having dropped out of the top seven this week.
United’s Jamie Proctor, Adams and Miller have all previously had spells with tomorrow’s opponents, as has the injured Jones. Dermot Drummy’s men are 20th in the league table and still could mathematically be relegated out of the Football League, although that appears highly unlikely.
Carlisle’s youth team are at home to Wrexham today.