Carlisle United won 4-0 at Swindon Town in the most recent playing of this fixture, scoring from all bar two of their efforts at goal.

Much has changed though since that November meeting – so will Richie Wellens’ men avenge the defeat, or will the Cumbrians be clinical at the County Ground once again?

 

Swindon’s strong start

Swindon Town got their campaign off on positive footing last week, winning 2-0 at Scunthorpe – and there are two positive aspects of their performance that will please manager Richie Wellens.

In the first half, we saw their strong defensive shape nullify the Iron – Jordan Lyden enjoyed a solid debut at the base of the midfield, while centre-backs Dion Conroy and Matt Baudry gave little away.

Lyden’s time on loan at Oldham last season was cut short by injury, but he appears to be taking this opportunity to thrive in the EFL, offering excellent protection in the double-pivot next to the more creative Michael Doughty.

In the second half, Swindon’s counter-attacking came to the fore with the quartet of Lloyd Isgrove, Kaiyne Woolery, Keshi Anderson and Jerry Yates causing problems.

Under Wellens last season, Anderson was impressive yet not quite hitting the full heights he is perhaps capable of due to the 4-3-3 system not incorporating a number 10.

With right-sider Isgrove coming in, bringing Championship experience with Sheffield Wednesday, Wellens has switched to a 4-2-3-1 to incorporate Anderson in that central role, which is where he looks at his best.

Yates had a wonderful debut; he has always been a willing runner throughout his career but, having been determined to bulk up over the summer, there appears to be a new level of pace and power to his game and that was evident in his goal.

 

Adventurous Carlisle

Yates’ old club Carlisle suffered last season when the Rotherham loanee departed in January, but their two new strikers have started the current campaign well.

Harry McKirdy produced a fine performance in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Crawley, showing class, skill and deception, as well as the improvisation to nod home the opener.

His strike-partner, Olufela Olomola, won official man-of-the-match award and seems to have added strength and hold-up qualities to his game.

The duo had support from Nathan Thomas, a creative livewire who made key contributions to both goal, plus Jack Bridge and Stefan Scougall.

The only concern for the Cumbrians would be that Mike Jones, who has had injury issues in recent years, was the only player protecting the back-four and it is important that Steven Pressley is able to find a little more defensive balance at the County Ground, bearing in mind Swindon’s counter-attacking prowess.

The last thing Carlisle want is the hosts’ attacking quartet running at centre-backs Nat Knight-Percival and Byron Webster – but if Swindon get the first goal, that is a plausible scenario.

Tip: Swindon to win -1 handicap

 

Read Gabriel’s League Two 1-20 predictions for the season.

Any odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of posting

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