Redcar Athletic are Cumbria bound on Saturday in a return to Northern League action following Tuesday's Isuzu FA Vase cup exit.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the Steelmen took to the pitch in the league. The delay has been, in part, due to cup exploits, but also due to schedule rearrangements owing to the effects of the recent Storm Babet.

This particular fixture against Carlisle was moved back to accommodate the first round Isuzu FA Vase tie against Silsden, which Gary Forster’s side will be looking to bounce back from here.

The Steelmen are coming into the weekend’s game off the back of that disappointing evening, which saw Silsden knock Athletic out of the Vase by subjecting them to a heavy 4-0 defeat at Green Lane. 

Gary Forster will be hoping his side can bounce back from Tuesday night's cup defeat (photo: Trevor Wilkinson)

On the other hand, Carlisle come into the game buoyant following a 5-1 victory in their Isuzu FA Vase tie, which came at home against Longridge Town. However, they were defeated by Boro Rangers in their last league game.

In their last six games, they’ve won three, drawn one and lost two. One of those defeats was a 6-0 hammering by promotion favourites Shildon. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s trip to the longest ground name in football, The Three Rivers Health and Safety Consultancy Stadium… 

WHO ARE YA?

Nicknamed ‘The Sky Blues’, Carlisle City were  formed in 1975 by former Carlisle United players George Walker and Ron Thompson. The pair cited their reason behind the creation of another Carlisle-based football club as “to give local lads somewhere to play”.

They joined the Northern Alliance immediately after forming but left to join the Northern Combination in 1987 after finishing bottom of the league in the 1986–87 season.

However, at the end of the following season – 1987–88 – the Combination merged into the Northern Alliance, with Carlisle rejoining to become one of the founding members of the new Division One.

The Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium, also known as Gillford Park.

In terms of honours, Carlisle City were crowned Northern Alliance Division One champions in 1991-92 and most recently gained promotion to the Ebac Northern League Division One after clinching the Division Two title in 2021-22.

DID YOU KNOW: Carlisle City’s record attendance is 708 in a friendly against near-neighbours Carlisle United on 8th July 2017.

LAST TIME OUT

Redcar Athletic’s last trip to Carlisle City was at the beginning of March, towards the back end of the record breaking 2022/23 season. It was the final instalment of a four-game winning run.

This match saw Craig Hutchinson and the in-form Donny Holdsworth net to complete a comeback victory in the longest away trip of the season.

It was Sky Blues forward Jordan Palmer who broke the deadlock, slotting an incisive through ball passed Jack Norton, with the travelling Redcar faithful left bemused that the flag wasn’t raised for offside.

The Steelmen were back on level terms five minutes after the restart, as Joe Thompson’s long throw dropped favourably for Craig Hutchinson, whose tidy volley rippled the net after Carlisle failed to make the clearance.

A brilliant team move finally gave Athletic their deserved lead, as Coleman flicked McNeill’s inviting cross over Carlisle’s backline, and Holdsworth broke free to apply an emphatic volleyed finish.

The calm before the comeback at The Three Rivers Health and Safety Consultancy Stadium. (photo: Ash Stone)

In the reverse fixture at Green Lane, Carlisle denied the Steelmen a fifth win on the bounce, scoring a late, stoppage time equaliser to share the points.

The aforementioned Donny Holdsworth also scored in this fixture, netting a free-kick for what what his 14th goal of the season.

CURRENT FORM

As mentioned, the two sides come into this game off the back of two very contrasting results in the Isuzu FA Vase. Carlisle were 5-1 victors against Longridge, whilst the Steelmen were defeated 4-0 at home to Silsden.

Prior to that though, Athletic were boosted by two big results – a 4-0 win against Thornaby in the WOODSmith Construction Cup and an 8-1 dismantling away to Tow Law Town.

WATCH | Redcar Athletic 0-4 Silsden

On the road, the Steelmen have accumulated four points in their last three away league games, losing to West Auckland and drawing to North Shields before the Tow Law victory. A mixed bag of results, but the team will be looking to build on the latter.

At home, Carlisle are fairly strong barring a 6-0 defeat to recently relegated Shildon. They’ve picked up four wins and two draws in seven games at The Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium in all competitions. 

TEAM NEWS

Gary Forster will be without the injured Liam O’Sullivan for the trip to Carlisle, whilst Bradley Mills, Jack Norton and Anthony Bell are all suspended.

New centre half signing Aaron Brown could make his debut, having been ineligible for the Isuzu FA Vase clash against Silsden.

Anthony Bell is suspended for the game against Carlisle. (Photo: Peter Milburn)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Joining us for the long trip to Cumbria on Saturday? Here’s some important information that you’ll need to know.

FINDING THE THREE RIVERS HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSULTANCY STADIUM

If you’re travelling by car, you can use the postcode CA1 3AF to find the ground, which is situated on the bank of the River Petteril.

It’s our longest away journey of the season, amassing approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes of travel to reach Carlisle from Green Lane.

ADMISSION

Admission into The Three Rivers Health and Safety Consultancy Stadium is priced at £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, with cash or card accepted at the turnstile. A matchday programme will be available to buy there too.

Gates will open around 1:30pm, ahead of kick-off at the standard time of 3:00pm.

THE BAR

Situated at the ground, The Little Griddle will be serving hot and cold food and drink. They accept cash and card payments.

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