We confidently predicted a few weeks ago that Carlisle United would bottle it towards the end of the season and whilst we're reluctant to say "we told you so", we did indeed tell you so! So what has happened at Brunton Park? Things were looking so good just a few short weeks ago.
The reasons are pretty unclear although it would seem that the often used phrase "when the going gets tough..." is pretty appropriate in this instance. The going has indeed been pretty tough for the Cumbrians in recent weeks but one could argue that they dealt with one of their toughest assignments in excellent fashion when winning 2-1 against league leaders Doncaster Rovers last month. Subsequently Keith Curle's men have descended from their lofty position in the top three and now find themselves six points off the pace.
Little wonder given that they have managed just a single point from their last five games, a far cry from their position earlier in the season when they enjoyed the 'privilege' of being the side with the longest unbeaten run in the top four English divisions. Such a record counts for absolutely nothing unless it is built upon as the season progresses and Carlisle have done little to ensure that this has been the case. They may well make the play-offs but on recent form they will more than likely not.
Indeed they don't really deserve to if we're completely honest and much will clearly depend on their results between now and the close of the season. Mansfield Town are next up and the Cumbrians will doubtless make life tough for themselves as they have done in recent weeks. Mansfield themselves have had an indifferent season so far although they would dearly love to swap places with Carlisle United and grab a place in the play-offs over the coming weeks. The Cumbrians may just make it easier for them this weekend.