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Carlisle United v Portsmouth – Cumbrians will bounce back

Carlisle have been involved in a couple of long journeys of late, however they will enjoy home comforts on Saturday afternoon.

Carlisle United have been on the road in four out of their last five outings, the travelling fans covering some 2,464 miles to see their side return just a single win, a draw and two defeats from their away journeys.

Indeed, with a second-round FA Cup tie away to Welling United on the horizon, this campaign is gearing up to be some kind of record as far as travelled miles is concerned.

Nevertheless, it will be home comforts again on Saturday afternoon when Portsmouth make the 700-mile round trip to Brunton Park for this League Two clash.

The hosts suffered a 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers last weekend, however they are still level on points with the four sides above them in the league table and a win on Saturday will possibly lift them into the play-off zone.

We’re confident that they can do just that. The Cumbrians have won all but two of their nine home games so far this season, although they will be in for a tough assignment against a Pompey side which have been in excellent form away from Fratton Park.

Carlisle head into this clash on the back of a 2-0 defeat away to Bristol Rovers and manager Keith Curle will be demanding a much improved performance from his players in the first home game of November.

The Cumbrians had been top scorers in the division prior to that defeat with 29 goals to their name, however Curle admitted after the final whistle that the side lacked a cutting edge.

“The decision making in attacking situations let us down, but there are still positives we can take,” he said. ” We had a good foothold until they got their first goal. I wouldn’t call it a break, but they caught us a little lopsided. They moved it quickly and we were always struggling to get a block on the shot. Other than that, there was nothing in it at all.

“Bristol Rovers were very dominant for the first 25 minutes or so. After that it was very close and either side, with a little bit of luck, was going to edge in front. We were a bit toothless going forward, but we had enough good situations and set-plays to have made something of them.

“The other disappointing factor is that I don’t think we did the horrible side of the game well enough. I thought Bristol Rovers came out on top of the midfield battle. They won too many second balls for my liking and they were able to dictate the pace of the game with ease.

“It’s a game of football we didn’t win because we didn’t compete well enough across the piece. We didn’t earn the right to get the luck which can often swing it in your favour. We were disrupted with injuries and illness, but to use that as an excuse would be disrespectful to the players who were out there for us.

“I firmly believe we had enough to cause real problems for Bristol Rovers in the squad we had available, but we were disjointed in midfield on too many occasions when we had possession.

“We prepared excellently, but the conditions meant we were going to have to earn the right to play. We didn’t stop them anywhere near enough and ultimately that’s why it didn’t go our way. I didn’t really think we got going at all. If you took five or six of the regular starters out of any team in any division they would struggle – and that was the same for us. If you’re missing key personnel it’s going to make life difficult.

“Fair play to Bristol Rovers because it was a dogged performance from them. They got their first goal at an important time and we didn’t really have the quality we needed in the final third.”

Can Carlisle bounce back from that disappointing result and keep the pressure on the play-off sides with a win against Portsmouth. We believe that they can, given that they enjoy an excellent record at Brunton Park and we’ll be backing the Cumbrians to clinch maximum points on Saturday at odds of 3/1 with Ladbrokes.

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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