It's a third Brunton Park game in the space of eight days tonight.

And to say Carlisle United could do with a result is quite the understatement given their nosediving form.

Can Chris Beech's team stop the rot against Crawley and answer some of the mounting criticism, or will their poor run continue?

Here's our handy look at the key details of the clash at Brunton Park.


Two definite absentees not just for tonight but, in all likelihood, the season, are Rhys Bennett and Brennan Dickenson.

Beech confirmed on Saturday that the pair have knee injuries which is likely to mean the end of their 2020/21 campaign.

Bennett's absence means Beech will need to continue with the centre-half pairing of Aaron Hayden and Rod McDonald.

The luckless Dickenson's second bad injury of the season, meanwhile, limits Beech's attacking alternatives.

If he makes chances in that department tonight he could promote Lewis Alessandra, who came off the bench to score United's consolation goal against Cambridge.

News and Star: Lewis Alessandra (photo: Richard Parkes)Lewis Alessandra (photo: Richard Parkes)

Gime Toure, Ethan Walker and Cedwyn Scott - who got a brief home debut on Saturday - are also contenders, with Jack Armer another defensive option

Another striker, Joshua Kayode, is on the way back from an ankle injury though it has not been confirmed when he could return.

Midfielder Danny Devine is back in contention after injury, but Morgan Feeney (foot) is still out.

Crawley boss John Yems has a number of injury absentees.

Tom Dallison, Reece Grego-Cox and - you might have heard of him - Mark Wright are sidelined.

Sam Matthews returned, though, from the sidelines in their defeat to Port Vale on Saturday.

The vistors are likely to include ex-Blues loan striker Ashley Nadesan, who has scored eight goals this season. Tom Nichols is their top scorer with 15 after January's sale of free-scoring Max Watters to Cardiff.

Beech's other consideration for Carlisle, meanwhile, could be tactical, having started with a diamond system against Cambridge but reverted to 4-3-3 for a better second half display.


Carlisle's, sadly, speaks for itself: one win in 13 now, three consecutive defeats and a season sliding further into obscurity unless things can be improved soon.

Remarkably, United still boast the equal highest number of home wins in the division, but have lost five of their last seven Brunton Park games.

United now sit 14th, nine points adrift of the play-off places and 13 north of the relegation zone.

Crawley are 11th, six points adrift of the top seven and still in with a sniff of forcing their way into the race.

Their form of late has been inconsistent - three wins followed by three matches without victory, Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to struggling Port Vale preventing them from making headway up the table.

Away from home it is five wins, four draws and eight defeats over the season.

Carlisle fans will also feel that old sense of foreboding when they are reminded of Crawley's recent record against the Blues.

The Red Devils have not won any of the sides' last FOURTEEN meetings home and away.

That includes a six-game stretch at Brunton Park.

News and Star: Crawley's last win against Carlisle came in 2012 (photo: Stuart Walker)Crawley's last win against Carlisle came in 2012 (photo: Stuart Walker)

Their last win against Carlisle - their only Football League win over the Blues, in fact - came back in September 2012, a 2-0 win at Brunton Park in which future United man Nicky Adams was one of their scorers.

The Sussex club's only other win over United came in the 2004/5 Conference season.


Carlisle are clear favourites to stop the rot and see off Yems' men tonight.

United, despite their shortage of victories lately, are Evens for the win with bookies such as Paddy Power, Betfair and Bet Victor.

A Crawley win is 5/2 with Sky Bet, 888Sport and BetFred and 29/10 with SBK.

The draw is 13/5 with UniBet and Bet Victor.

(source: Oddschecker)


It's a 7pm start tonight.

The game was rearranged from Februar 12's postponement because of a frozen pitch.

iFollow is the only way fans can watch the game, with matches continuing to be played behind closed doors because of Covid-19.

The News & Star will be reporting live from Brunton Park and BBC Radio Cumbria will provide commentary.


Robert Lewis is the man in the middle for this one.

He and Carlisle have had a number of encounters over the years, the most recent being December's 4-0 Blues win over Stevenage.

News and Star: Referee Robert Lewis (photo: PA)Referee Robert Lewis (photo: PA)

Other notable visits to Brunton Park for the ref include January 2019's 3-2 win over Mansfield, when Mr Lewis dismissed the Stags' Neal Bishop.

He's also flourished the red card at United's Mike Jones, against Lincoln in 2018, and Gary Borrowdale at Southampton back in 2011.


The statistics mentioned above suggest it has largely been happy - or at least not unhappy - memories when United face Crawley.

Their trip to Sussex earlier this season saw an effective Blues display and a 3-0 win.

At Brunton Park, the last meeting came on the opening day of last season, when Harry McKirdy and Stefan Scougall earned a 2-1 win.

A memorable one was the encounter in Cumbria in November 2016, when a 3-1 win featured a superb goal from Luke Joyce. Here are the highlights: