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This Week's Opposition: Carlisle United

Photo Credit: Carlisle United

After last week’s match at Northampton was postponed due to the international break, we head back to Fratton Park this time around to take on Carlisle United.

After a goal-filled second half against Gillingham saw the Blues win 5-1 and go top of Group M in The EFL Trophy.

Last season’s League Two Play-Off winners Carlisle are put under the microscope for this one… They’re returning to the 3rd tier after a 9-year absence.


Former professional footballer Paul Simpson is at the helm for The Cumbrians.

Simpson started his playing career with Manchester City at the age of 15. He went on to play for Oxford United, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool and Roachdale with loan spells at Finn Harps, Sheffield United and Walsall.

Simpson also made 3 caps for England Under-18s and 5 caps scoring 1 goal for England Under-21s.

The now 57-year-old finished his playing career at Carlisle United in 2006. Overall, he had made 679 appearances and scored 150 goals in his 24 years playing professional football.

Simpson started his managerial career when he stepped in as player-manager for Rochdale in 2002 after manager John Hollins’ departure. He moved back to his home town the following season and became player-manager for Carlisle United.

He moved on to manage Preston North End in 2006 when they missed out on the Play-Offs by goal difference. After a year and 4 months, Simpson was sacked and moved on to manage Shrewsbury Town, Stockport County, Northwich Victoria and England Under-20s.

In February 2022, Simpson returned to former club Carlisle United. He went on to sign a 3-year contract only 2 months later.

The following season, Simpson led Carlisle to a 5th place finish, qualifying for Play-Offs. A win against Bradford City and defeating Stockport County on penalties, Carlisle won the 2023 Play-Off final at Wembley.


Fulham loanee Terry Ablade is our one to watch this time around.

The 22-year-old joined The Cumbrians in August. He had previously been on loan at AFC Wimbledon, where he made 12 appearances for the side.

Ablade is also a Finnish youth international, representing them at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels. 

His first senior outing was recorded when he came on for the second half of a Carabao Cup away meeting with Crawley Town.

With power and pace, Ablade wears the number 12 shirt for Carlisle. 


The Cumbrians’ top goalscorer so far this campaign is number 7, Jordan Gibson.

Gibson signed with Carlisle in 2021 and has so far made a total of 98 appearances, scoring 11 goals in his first 2 seasons with the club in League Two.

After promotion to League One, Gibson scored his first goal in the 96th minute against Peterborough United to secure a 1-1 draw.

The 25-year-old winger scored a hattrick on the road against Bolton Wanderers in a 3-1 victory earlier this month.


Carlisle currently sit 20th in League One on 11 points, 3 points clear of the bottom 4, with 2 victories, 5 draws and 6 defeats to their name thus far.

Paul Simpson’s side are currently bottom of their EFL Trophy group after defeats against Accrington Stanley and the Nottingham Forest Under-21s. The final opponent in their group is Harrogate Town.

The last time these teams met was back in the 2016/17 season, when both clubs were in League Two. The Blues came out on top with a 3-0 victory at Brunton Park last time around.

Can the Blues maintain their position at the top of the League One table for another week?

All of the unmissable action will be here on 93.7 Express FM, DAB Digital Radio, Online & iFollow when Pompey Live this Saturday from 2pm with full coverage of Portsmouth vs Carlisle United in League One.

Kick-off: 3pm


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