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Preview: Carlisle United vs. Barrow - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Carlisle United vs. Barrow - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Carlisle United and Barrow, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Carlisle United will be looking to move out of the relegation zone in League Two when they welcome Barrow to Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon.

The home side are currently 23rd in the table, having picked up just 12 points from their opening 15 matches, while Barrow occupy 15th with 18 points to show from their first 15 games of the campaign.

Match preview

Carlisle finished 10th in League Two last season, just seven points off the playoff positions, but it has been a difficult start to the 2021-22 campaign for the Blues, with a total of 12 points from 15 matches leaving them in 23rd position in the table ahead of the next set of matches.

Now under the management of Keith Millen, Carlisle will be looking for just their third league victory of the season this weekend, but they will enter this match off the back of successive wins.

Indeed, the Cumbrians recorded a 2-0 home victory over Horsham in the first round of the FA Cup last weekend before beating Morecambe 2-0 in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night, which secured their passage into the next round of the competition as winners of Northern Group A.

Carlisle, who lost 3-0 at Northampton Town in their last League Two clash on October 30, will be back in FA Cup action against Shrewsbury Town at the start of December but now have four huge league matches against Barrow, Exeter City, Harrogate Town and Walsall.

Barrow, meanwhile, have also been victorious in their last two matches, thumping Banbury United 4-0 in the FA Cup last weekend before beating Leicester City Under-21s 1-0 in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday, but they have exited the competition in the group stage, with Accrington Stanley and Fleetwood Town both progressing.

Like Carlisle, the Bluebirds have struggled for results in the league in recent weeks, with their last victory coming away to Mansfield Town at the start of October.

Since then, they have drawn three and lost two of their five League Two fixtures, including a 2-1 home defeat to Rochdale at the end of October, which saw them drop into 15th position in the table, having picked up 18 points from their opening 15 matches of the season.

Mark Cooper's side only just survived in League Two last season, finishing in 21st, five points clear of the relegation zone, so it has been a relatively successful campaign to date.

Barrow have not beaten Carlisle in any competition since 1960, though, and suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Blues when the two teams locked horns for the corresponding match last term.

Carlisle United League Two form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Carlisle United form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Barrow League Two form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Barrow form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Carlisle boss Millen has revealed that he has "some tough decisions" to make this weekend, with the home side likely to have a fully-fit squad for the visit of Barrow.

Back-to-back cup victories mean that confidence should be high in the camp despite their disappointing position in the table, and Millen is likely to go for either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation on Saturday.

Zak Clough and Lewis Alessandra are both expected to feature in the final third of the field, while Brennan Dickenson should also get the nod in an advanced area for the home side.

As for Barrow, head coach Cooper made 10 changes to his starting XI for the EFL Trophy clash with Leicester Under-21s, but there is expected to be a more familiar look to the team on Saturday.

Oliver Banks is the team's leading scorer in the league this season with six goals and will again line up in midfield, while Joshua Gordon, who has three league goals this term, should lead the line for the visitors.

Carlisle United possible starting lineup:
Howard; Mellor, Whelan, McDonald, Armer; Mellish, Guy; Gibson, Clough, Dickenson; Alessandra

Barrow possible starting lineup:
Farman; Brown, Ellis, Grayson; Hutton, Banks, Gotts, Brough; Williams, Gordon, Kay

We say: Carlisle United 1-1 Barrow

Both teams will be feeling better about themselves after back-to-back cup wins, and it should be an open game at Brunton Park. Barrow have shared the points in three of their last five in the league, though, and we are expecting the two teams to play out a low-scoring draw on Saturday afternoon.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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