Cheltenham Town v Carlisle United – team news, form, odds, past meetings and referee

It’s pretty simple. Carlisle United have to beat table-topping Cheltenham tonight, or their chances of making the play-offs will go from small to barely visible at all.

The Blues are five points outside the top seven with three games to play.

And they couldn’t face a tougher test of their ability to keep things alive this evening.

Hosts Cheltenham need just another point to be sure of their place in League One.

Something’s got to give – and here’s our handy look at the key details of the clash in Gloucestershire.

TEAM NEWS

Chris Beech is assessing defender Rod McDonald ahead of tonight’s game.

The centre-half has a dead leg which kept him out of Saturday’s draw against Harrogate.

Nick Anderton took his place in defence, but Rhys Bennett could be another contender for the Blues after coming on at half-time.

If Beech decides to make other changes tonight, loan attacker Ethan Walker will certainly be among those pushing for a call-up after his bright display from the bench on Saturday.

Ethan Walker: Chance of a call-up? (photo: Barbara Abbott)

Omari Patrick, who joined Walker and Bennett in a triple half-time change, is another pushing for a recall.

Danny Devine, Gime Toure, Cedwyn Scott and Taylor Charters are among the others hoping for a place.

Brennan Dickenson remains sidelined and Morgan Feeney is close to a return from a foot injury.

Cheltenham are without defender Will Boyle.

He has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

Boyle, a scorer in the Robins’ 2-1 win at Brunton Park earlier this season, has missed Cheltenham’s last four games, with Charlie Raglan stepping up.

FORM

United’s form can be viewed in different ways, but the conclusion is the same: only a victory will do tonight.

The Blues are winless in five, but have only lost one in eight.

Cheltenham’s form has varied a little recently, but they have chalked up more than enough wins to bring promotion firmly into view.

They’ve won 10 of their last 15, and three of their last four.

Michael Duff’s side have also won their last four home games without conceding.

News and Star: Cheltenham boss Michael Duff (photo: PA)Cheltenham boss Michael Duff (photo: PA)

Overall at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium this season they’ve won 12, drawn four and lost five.

Alfie May is their top scorer with 12 goals.

ODDS

Cheltenham are clear enough favourites for this one.

They are 21/20 with Sky Bet and William Hill, and Evens with Bet365 and Betfair.

A Carlisle win is 11/4 with Bet365, 13/5 with 888Sport and 5/2 with BetVictor.

The draw is 12/5 with William Hill and 9/4 with Betway.

(source: Oddschecker)

KICK-OFF

It’s a traditional 7pm start for United’s penultimate away game of the season.

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 from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, and BBC Radio Cumbria will provide commentary.

REFEREE

Kevin Johnson is the man in the middle for this one.

News and Star: Referee Kevin Johnson (photo: PA)Referee Kevin Johnson (photo: PA)

He was in charge of Carlisle’s 1-1 draw with Salford in February, showing two yellow cards to the hosts and a further two to the Blues.

Another notable encounter was United’s 1-0 win at Crawley in 2017 when Johnson dismissed THREE players – Crawley’s Josh Yorwerth and United’s Tom Parkes and Richie Bennett.

He has met Cheltenham once this season; in the Papa John’s Trophy against Portsmouth in December, when he showed three yellow cards.

PAST MEETINGS

Cheltenham got the better of United at Brunton Park in November when Will Boyle and Conor Thomas’ penalty earned a 2-1 win, Jon Mellish hitting Carlisle’s consolation.

The last meeting at Whaddon Road was a 2-0 Blues defeat in August 2019, when future Carlisle man Gavin Reilly was among the home scorers.

United have lost their most recent three meetings home and away, and won the previous three.

Their last away win against the Robins came in August 2018 when Richie Bennett was the matchwinner.

Overall Carlisle have won 10, drawn eight and lost 11 of their encounters with Cheltenham over the years.

This was a good one – a 3-2 win in 2005 when Karl Hawley (two) and Zigor Aranalde supplied the goals for Paul Simpson’s title-bound Blues. Here’s the action from YouTube:



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