Good Friday will provide some huge games that will impact both ends of the table, and in Carlisle United’s case, their fixture against Tranmere Rovers could be pivotal to their promotion.
The Cumbrians are engrossed in a captivating promotion race that looks to go to the wire, but Carlisle are just outside the automatic promotion places, so have become involved in the chasing pack.
This could prove to be favourable as this season, Leyton Orient, Stevenage and Northampton looked destined for League One, until a good run from Carlisle spearheaded by a fine run from Boxing Day up until the start of February saw them in a position where automatic promotion was at their destiny, so to keep up a push for promotion, a win would prove vital.
On the other hand, poor results have meant Tranmere’s season has petered out with only pride left to realistically play for, but Rovers won’t be slowing down as they search for a first win under the temporary stewardship of Ian Dawes.
Both of his opening games have ended in 1-1 stalemates and both have shown signs of an improving outfit. The most recent encounter saw welcomes bonuses of returning players to the side and a fortunate free-kick which earned Tranmere a point, but it’s about time Tranmere chalked up a win, and three points on Friday would be a boost.
Players to Watch
Kristian Dennis (Carlisle)
A man ready for League One, it seems, after his displays for the Cumbrians this term, Kristian Dennis has been outstanding for Carlisle this season, upping his game drastically.
After many disappointing years in front of goal, with his latest goal return at a low of two, he’s now showing his full ability which attracted many clubs to him, with Dennis netting 17 times, with his tally only bettered by Northampton’s Sam Hoskins and Andy Cook.
Dennis has an aura about him which makes him increasingly difficult to deal with, so Tranmere are going to have to keep close tabs on him.
Josh Hawkes (Tranmere)
Despite the goals drying up of late, Hawkes is a player who can spark a game into life with his tricky footwork and an eye for goal, which has seen him as Tranmere’s leading scorer.
Hawkes has netted eight times throughout the season for Rovers, matching Kane Hemmings’ goal return, three of which have came since the turn of the year.
A replica of his form which has branded him as a dangerous player and Carlisle will have to be at their best to keep him quiet.
- 2022-23: Carlisle 2-1 Tranmere
- Tranmere 0-2 Carlisle
- 2021-22: Tranmere 2-2 Carlisle
- Carlisle 0-1 Tranmere
- 2020-21: Carlisle 2-3 Tranmere
Paul Simpson (Carlisle)
Simpson is a legend at Carlisle, with him currently in his second managerial spell at the club.
His first reign lasted from 2003-2006, where he oversaw promotion from the National League and League Two, meaning he’d taken the club up two divisions.
He rejoined the club in 2022 to help steer a sinking ship to safety. His arrival sparked a revival in Cumbria, and after sitting 23rd, he saved Carlisle.
This season, it’s got a whole lot better for Carlisle, and they now find themselves in a position where promotion is a possibility.
Ian Dawes & Andy Parkinson (Tranmere)
With Tranmere yet to install a permanent outfit in the dugout since the departure of Micky Mellon, Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson will be stepping in temporarily.
Dawes, an experienced coach and Parkinson, a former Tranmere player, will be hoping to oversee their first victory in charge as they take charge of their first home back against Harrogate.