The lowdown on the opposition as the football season returns with an almighty trip to Cumbria
Over The Summer
Things are continuing to look stable behind the scenes at Brunton Park after manager Gregg Abbott and his backroom staff agreed new one-year deals with the Cumbrians over the off-season. However, things were not so rosy on the pitch last season and Abbott has set about assembling a new-look squad for the forthcoming campaign as they aim to improve on a disappointing 17th place finish last time around.
Seven first-team players – including former captain Peter Murphy – were released over the summer and the club managed to convince Danny Livesey, Paul Thirwell, Matty Robson and top-scorer Lee Miller to pen new contract extensions. Abbott has also added former Liverpool forward David Amoo, midfielder Josh Gillies and striker Lewis Guy, whilst Manchester United youngster Reece James has also joined on a six-month loan deal.
One To Watch
Convincing 30-year-old striker Lee Miller to extend his contract with the club was arguably Gregg Abbott’s best piece of business over the summer. Despite injury disrupting his 2012-13 campaign, the forward still finished as the Cumbrians’ top scorer and had attracted admiring glances from above. Lengthy contract discussions eventually ended in the Scot penning a new one-year deal at Brunton Park in late June and an injury-free season should see the forward near the top of the League One scoring charts come May.
Despite boasting a revamped squad, Football League sponsors SkyBet are still predicting a tough season for the Cumbrians. Priced at 9/4 for relegation this season, the bookmakers have made Gregg Abbott’s side third favourites for the drop behind Colchester and Stevenage.
Despite predicting a season of struggle for the Cumbrians, SkyBet still make Carlisle (5/4) slight favourites against the O’s (19/10) for this weekend’s clash, whilst a draw is priced at 12/5.
If recent encounters between the two sides are anything to go by then goals should be expected at Brunton Park on Saturday. The pair have shared 15 goals in their last three encounters with the O’s securing two comfortable victories last season and the Cumbrians comprehensively beating Russell Slade’s side at Brunton Park in January 2012.
The two sides last met in March when the O’s came through comfortable 4-1 winners at Brisbane Road to keep their playoff hopes alive. Romain Vincelot opened the scoring before Shaun Batt grabbed a second just before the break. Kevin Lisbie got the O’s third from the spot before Matty Robson pulled one back for the Cumbrians. Dean Cox then scored the fourth in the 89th minute to secure a comfortable win for Russell Slade’s side.
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