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It has been argued that the EFL (Checkatrade) Trophy has lost much of its appeal following the introduction of Premier League U21 sides into the competition, however it could also be argued that the tournament was dying on its feet and needed an injection of life into it. Whether or not the changes have had the required effect is open to question and crowds have certainly not improved to the extent in which they were hoped. Nevertheless the Trophy action returns on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with a grand total of 21 matches over the two days.
In the far northern outpost of Brunton Park, Carlisle United face Fleetwood Town in what is a pretty unglamorous tie on Wednesday and while the Cod Army sit a division above the Cumbrians, we expect the home side to give a good account of themselves in front of their home fans. Keith Curle's men saw off League One side Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon with a 3/2 win at Brunton Park and they will be confident mood ahead of this midweek Trophy clash.
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The Cumbrians have been pretty hit-and-miss this season thus far and as things stand it remains unlikely that they will be involved in another plays-off challenge. Nevertheless these concerns can be put to one side as they look to progress in a competition in which they have excelled over the years. United have made it into the final of this competition some six times in the past and have won it on two occasions, however their last appearance in the final was in 2011 and they will be eager to replicate past glories.
First of all they need to find a way past Fleetwood Town on Wednesday evening and we fancy the home side's chances. Fleetwood Town may be riding relatively high in League One but promotion will clearly be their primary aim, something which is not looking likely at Carlisle United. As such, we expect the hosts to edge this encounter with the /free-bets going 2/1 on a home win this week.
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