John Sheridan is demanding Carlisle United come flying out of the traps today - as they did in their last home victory.

The Blues host Forest Green this afternoon and manager Sheridan says getting their retaliation in early is all important.

Sheridan believes League Two consistently rewards teams who grab the first goal in a game.

United edged Newport two weeks ago after scoring twice in the early stages, following a goalless stretch at Brunton Park.

Sheridan said: “When we score first, it makes teams have to come out a little bit more at us - and we’ve got good players on the counter-attack.

“I think it’s massively important this division. For some reason you defend better with something to hang onto, knowing if you keep a clean sheet you’ll win the game.

“Getting the first goal is massive in this division. Usually you end up winning the game And when you’re at home you’ve got to hit the ground running.”

United, unbeaten in four, are seeking that elusive consistency on their home ground which Sheridan believes is essential to a play-off challenge.

The Blues have so far been stronger on their travels - a trait shared by today’s visitors.

They can, though, leapfrog 10th-placed Forest Green with victory today.

“They’re a good team. They’ve drawn a lot of games but haven’t lost many,” Sheridan said. “They’re a good footballing side and have got some good players in the team. Our pitch is a big pitch and I think footballing sides like coming to play on our pitch.

“They’re like a lot of teams - they probably look at our home record and feel confident they can come and beat us. I respect that, because our home form’s not been good enough.

“But we just beat third in the league [Newport] in our last home game, we’re four unbeaten and we’re going into the game confident.

“They [Forest Green] are in a similar position to ourselves in the table but I just want us to look after ourselves. We know the importance of trying to get three points.

“Our home form needs to be better but we are keeping ourselves in touch because of the way we’re playing and the results we’re getting away from home. But if you’re consistently winning at home, you’ll be in the mix.”

Sheridan could have Kelvin Etuhu back in his squad today but injured skipper Danny Grainger looks set to miss out again.

“What seems to be happening is I get someone coming back and then I get another injury,” Sheridan said. “They’re just swapping places.

“I want everyone fit and available to give us the best chance.”

Mark Cooper’s visitors have gone five without a win in all competitions and three without a goal.

On United, he said: “They’ve got some good players, two really good centre-forwards who always want to be in the penalty area and six-yard box, always want to run in behind and cause problems.

“Wherever [John Sheridan] goes he does well. They try and play, and have got threats, and so have we.”

Dayle Grubb could return for the Gloucestershire outfit but Liam Shephard and Lee Collins are out.