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Club News

Carlisle Focus

11 June 2016

During the close season we will look at our opponents in League 2 this season.

Nickname: The Cumbrians

Ground: Brunton Park

Capacity: 18,202 (9,500 standing)

Last Season:
Strong early season form saw Carlisle lose just twice in their opening 12 matches of the SkyBet League Two 2015/16 campaign. Flooding meant Carlisle had to play several games away from Brunton Park and the early-season goals from Jabo Ibehre dried up at the same time.

It meant that the season petered out somewhat, and the side finished in 10th position. They picked up their final win of the season with an impressive 5-0 victory at Notts County on the final day of the campaign, having beaten the Reds 1-0 in their penultimate game on the road. 

Manager: Keith Curle

The experienced former England defender made over 700 appearances throughout his career, most notably representing Manchester City 174 times over a five year period in the Premier League where he was given the role as captain. 

His managerial career began with Mansfield Town in 2002, before he moved on to Tprquay united and Chester City. A successful spell with Notts County followed before Curle was named as the manager of the Cumbrians in 2014. That September the side were bottom of the division so their mid-table finish last season is a clear barometer of the progress the side have made under him.

Key man: Jabo Ibhere

The target man was a hit when he arrived last summer - notching 15 goals over the course of the campaign. A hat-trick on the second day of the season in a thrilling 4-4 draw at home to Cambridge United no doubt endeared him to the Brunton Park faithful. He finished the season with two goals in the final day 5-0 success against Notts County and will no doubt be a key figure next season.

Phil Rostron - Carlisle News and Star - Sports Editor 

The 2015/16 campaign was a season of two halves for Carlisle United - pre-floods and post-floods.

Prior to the devastation caused by Storm Desmond in December the Cumbrians had been acquitting themselves rather well in a period when it was raining goals, with new signing Jabo Ibehre finding a prolific streak of net-finding.

In November they came back from 3-1 down at Luton to win 4-3 and this followed rampaging wins over Hartlepool, Barnet and Yeovil.

In between they had defied all expectation to hold Liverpool to 1-1 at Anfield in the League Cup third round before succumbing in a penalty shoot-out.

An FA Cup fourth round date with Everton was to follow, but this time they were comprehensively beaten, 3-0.

All semblance of form, continuity and consistency was to be lost when the floods had done their dirty work.

The Blues were forced out of their Brunton Park home as their pitch became submerged to levels at which only the crossbars of the goals were visible.

“Home" games were staged at Blackburn, Blackpool and Preston in a bizarre shift from normality.

On the field of play, there had been much experimentation by manager Keith Curle; one match a flat back four, the next three at the back with wing-backs toiling up and down.

There would be a lone striker, then three up front.

Three and four changes in personnel each game were the norm but Carlisle went into the new year threatening to make a persistent challenge for a play-off slot.

Once the early-season hung-ho had been sacrificed, though, for an altogether more conservative approach the wins, like their pitch, dried up.

An eventual 10th place finish was, however, a considerable improvement on the previous season, when their very existence in the Football League was threatened in a long-running, but ultimately successful battle to beat the drop.

Club captain Danny Grainger cleaned up at the end-of-season awards and he will again be a key figure in 2016/17.

Curle had made four new signings before the end of May, followed by the signing of Shrimps' playmaker Jamie Devitt in June - signalling his intentions to mould a squad capable of really challenging for honours this time around -  a top-six finish is the expectation.

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