Crawley Town v Carlisle United preview: Reds square off against bogey side Blues
A better performance at Bristol Rovers last weekend may have restored some belief back into Crawley Town, but they face off against a bogey side this week in Carlisle United tomorrow.
Crawley have beaten Carlisle just once in 16 attempts, with that being the first game the sides played out against each other in League One when Crawley won 2-0 at Brunton Park.
In the 15 games later, Carlisle have picked up nine wins and there have been six draws between the sides, a record Crawley will be desperately looking to get rid of.
Out of the two sides, it’s the Blues who have started the season better with nine points from their opening six games, with just one defeat in that time.
What can be said about Carlisle is that all their games are tightly contested, every game they’ve played this season in all competitions either being a draw or split by just one goal.
A 2-1 result seems to be a regular occurrence for Carlisle, with both wins and their only defeat in the league being this scoreline.
Amongst these they’ve had 0-0 draws with Colchester and Port Vale, while also drawing 1-1 with Leyton Orient.
Callum Guy is the key to a lot of what goes right for Carlisle, despite not scoring a goal in 57 appearances for the club.
However, it’s the assist numbers that earn him the plaudits, as he was last season's top provide in League Two with 14 assists, four more than any other player.
Twelve of these assists did come from set pieces, and their presence from free-kicks and corners has continued this season with just three of their six league goals coming from open play.
That provides an interesting test for the Crawley defence, which has been one of the leakiest in the division at this stage of the season.
However, the Red Devils have been missing bodies in the back line with a huge injury list piling up, which includes Jordan Tunnicliffe, Harry Ransom, Ludwig Francillette and Tom Dallison.
But they were boosted with not only the return of Tom Nichols but also by his new two-year contract with an option of a third.
Nichols managed to get 68 minutes under his belt last weekend and will be looking for more this weekend as he looks to return to full fitness.
The signing of Alex Battle has also improved Crawley’s attacking options as he ended pre-season as the Reds’ top scorer while he was a trialist.
The game at Bristol Rovers showed a much improved performance for the Reds but they’ll need to find a way to make their chances count if they’re to really get their season underway.