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This Week's Opposition: Carlisle United

Photo Credit: Carlisle United

An extraordinary 4-1 win at Fratton Park against Northampton Town saw the Blues go 4 points clear at the top of the League One table last weekend.

Early goals from Connor Ogilvie and Paddy Lane set the tone, even after Colby Bishop’s penalty was saved and Tom McIntyre was sent off rather controversially in the second half.

The Blues dug deep though and secured another 2 goals from Paddy Lane and Callum Lang.

After the successful run John Moushino’s side are back on, Pompey now head to their furthest away fixture this season - It’s a 700-mile round trip to Brunton Park to take on the struggling Carlisle United.

Let's take a closer look at them now…

MANAGER

Paul Simpson is at the helm for The Cumbrians.

The English former professional footballer started his playing career with a move from Carlisle to Manchester City at the age of 15, making his senior debut for the club aged 16.

During his spell at Maine Road he won 5 caps for the England Under-21s team, adding to 3 caps he had already won at Under-18s level.

Simpson also played for Oxford United, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool and Rochdale, with loan spells at Finn Harps, Sheffield United and Walsall too.

He started his managerial career as player-manager at Rochdale after the departure of John Hollins in 2002. Simpson left after a largely unsuccessful season and moved back to his hometown, becoming player-manager of Carlisle.

Simpson also managed Preston North End, Shrewsbury Town, Stockport County, Northwich Victoria and the England Under-20s’. He was also assistant manager for Steve McClaren at Derby County and moved with him to Newcastle United in 2015.

In February 2022, Simpson returned to former club Carlisle as manager until the end of the 2021/22 season. The Cumbrians found themselves in the League Two relegation zone in 23rd position at the time of his appointment, however Simpson turned the club’s form around and won 5 of the 7 matches across March.

At the end of that season, which confirmed Carlisle’s League Two status for the following term, Simpson signed a permanent 3-year contract with the club.

In the following season, he led Carilsle to a 5th place finish, qualifying for Play-Offs. A win over Bradford City in the Semi-Finals set The Cumbrians up with a clash against Stockport County in the Final, which they won on penalties to secure promotion to League One. That ended 9 consecutive seasons in the EFL’s basement division.

This win marked the first for Simposon at Wembley in 6 attempts.

ONE TO WATCH

Our one to watch on this occasion is 22-year-old Jack Robinson, who started his senior career at Middlesbrough.

He made his 1 and only appearance as a substitute in a 3-0 Championship defeat to Wycombe Wanderers.

In August 2021, he signed for National League side Yeovil town on loan for the 2021/22 season. Robinson then went on to join League Two side Carlisle on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.

Following promotion at the end of the season, he returned to the club on a permanent 2-year deal.

The defender can play as a centre back or as a left back with an attacking flare. Robinson wears the number 19 shirt.

TOP SCORER

Winger Jordan Gibson is the current top goalscorer.

Gibson played youth football with Rangers before signing a senior career contract with Bradford City in 2017. During his 3 seasons at the club he made 11 starts, appearing for 6 different managers.

Gibson went on to sign for Irish club St. Patrick’s Athletic, however after only 5 months he signed for fellow League of Ireland outfit Sligo Rovers.

Returning to England in August 2021, Gibson signed for Carlisle, for whom he has currently made 132 appearances, scoring 20 goals.

So far this campaign, Gibson has scored 7 goals and also wears the number 7 shirt.

CURRENT FORM

It will be top of the league vs bottom of the league this Saturday as Paul Simpson's side currently occupy 24th in the league, fighting in the relegation zone alongside Fleetwood, Cheltenham and Port Vale as things stand.

Their last win came on New Year’s Day on home soil against Port Vale.

Carlisle’s most recent 5 games have all ended in defeat, leaving The Cumbrians with just 20 points in total so far this campaign - They are now 3 points adrift at the bottom of the division.

The last time these sides met was at Fratton Park back in October when the final scoreline read 1-0 to the Blues, thanks to a 93rd minute winner from Conor Shaughnessy.

Can the Blues extend their unbeaten streak to 5 games and keep the promotion dream alive?

Tune in for all of the action as Portsmouth take on Carlisle United away from home this Saturday (February 10th) - Pompey Live will have you covered with all of the build-up, half-time analysis and post-game reaction from 2pm.

Kick-off: 3pm!

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