Carlisle are having a miserable time of it on the road this term, so the last thing they need is a Johnstone’s Paint trophy trip to Lancashire’s answer to Monaco, aka promotion-addicted millionaire’s plaything Fleetwood Town, who are well fancied to prevail in front of the roving lenses of British Eurosport.
Those hoping to pile into the in-form Cod Army will have had their enthusiasm tempered by the absence of leading home goal-getter Jamille Matt, but his loss could be bwin punters’ gain as it points the betting compass directly at a juicy 4/1 home win/first goalscorer double.
Fleetwood have plundered 14 goals in the six home games Matt failed to start this term
The goals have far from dried up when the seven-goal former Kidderminster hotshot hasn’t made the eleven so far in 2013/14 so the hosts should still be able to earn themselves an advantage sufficient to claim victory.
Only Scunthorpe have managed to shut out the League Two leaders at Highbury this season, while eight other goalscorers have chipped in to keep the home fans in celebratory mood.
The Cumbrians have notched a solitary goal in their last five games away from Brunton Park.
Given the levels of commitment already required to follow around one of the Football League’s more remotely-located outfits, a streak of shutouts is unlikely to dull the enthusiasm of travelling fans, however it may fan the flames of intrigue for our proposed double.
Surprisingly Carlisle lost just two of the aforementioned fixtures, suggesting a travelling modus operandi based around battening down the hatches – all five of those games limboed the under 2.5 divide.
Graham Alexander’s men have already disposed of two League One sides en route to the Northern quarter-final.
Having recruited the likes of Steven Schumacher and Jeff Hughes from the division above last year the gap in quality between the League Two table-toppers and Carlisle, 16th in the third tier may well not be that great.
Crewe sit just three points behind the visitors in the League One standings and they were beaten up to the tune four goals to nil at Highbury in the previous round.