PREVIEW: Luton Town v Carlisle United

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Carlisle United boss Keith Curle is determined to use Tuesday night’s flabbergasting defeat at the hands of title-chasers Shrewsbury Town as motivation ahead of this weekend’s trip to Luton Town.

With 90 minutes up, the Cumbrians manager saw his side leading 1-0, only to concede two injury time goals and somehow come away empty handed.

Speaking to United’s official club website, Curle said: “What happened on Tuesday night is still painful.

“However, there are massive positives to take out of that game. First and foremost, there was no fear going into it and that was good to see.

“Our game plan went to plan, in its majority, because we stopped a very good side from playing the way they wanted to. Of course there were negatives as well, and a lot of people won’t have noticed that I stayed out there after the game.

“I saw their players celebrating with their supporters and I wanted to watch that. I’ll use it as motivation because it’s a game we should have won. It should have been us celebrating with our supporters.

“Managers and coaches get their drive and motivation from different places and scenarios. Mine, on Tuesday night, was watching that celebration and I used it as a reminder that we’re nowhere near sprinting yet. However, we’re going in the right direction and that’s important.”

It’s been an eventful ride for Curle since he took over in September after previous boss Graham Kavanagh was dismissed 10 games into the season, having not won a league game, with back to back relegations becoming a real threat.

Curle made a good start to life at Brunton Park, winning three of his first four league games, before the wheels started to come off somewhat, as they lost seven from the next nine.

However, after defeating Northampton 2-1 in December stopped the rot, Curle has once again picked up results to drag Carlisle four points clear of the drop, with five wins from 10 games, including a current run of three victories in five.

Away form has improved too, with Carlisle winning three from their last five, claiming successes at Tranmere, AFC Wimbledon and Morecambe, after a solitary win at Accrington beforehand.

One thing the Cumbrians don’t do is draws though, with the last one coming 24 games ago, as Curle has dealt purely in wins or losses during his reign.

The boss was busy during the transfer window, with possibly their best piece of business, acquiring striker Charlie Wkye for an undisclosed fee on an 18-month deal from Middlesbrough.

Curle also brought in experienced midfielder Anthony Griffiths after he left Shrewsbury due to a lack of first team football and signed Blyth Spartans defender Nathan Buddle, while extending defender Matt Young’s stay from Sheffield Wednesday until the end of the season.

The club also terminated the contract of midfielder Alex Marrow as Curle opted to free up some finances.

Off the field, things aren’t settled though as the club’s fans have been protesting against the board, calling for them to step down and have been petitioning for the directors to sell the club.

Team news: Hatters will be without captain Steve McNulty who is suspended for four games after losing his appeal against the red card received against York.

Nathan Doyle is also out with a knee injury, while there are doubts over Luke Wilkinson (groin) too. Scott Griffiths, Luke Guttridge, Alex Lawless and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu are all in contention, while Paul Benson is back in training, although Curtley Williams (shoulder) is still out.

For Carlisle, keeper Mark Gillespie is out with a groin injury as Dan Hanford stepped in against Shrewsbury.

Troy Archibald-Henville should be fit despite an ongoing knee problem, while Kyle Dempsey is back after a one match ban, for which he accepted an internal fine. Gary Dicker and Billy Paynter need more match fitness before being considered though.

Top goalscorers: Hatters: Mark Cullen (11). Carlisle: Bradley Potts (7).

Milestones: Jake Howells will move to 21st in the club’s all-time appearances list if he plays on Saturday. The 23-year-old is currently on 304 games, the same as Fred White, with John Moore’s total of 306 next in his sights.

Luke Guttridge is due to make his 50th appearance too should he feature.

Man in the middle: James Linington - referee has taken 26 games this season, showing 68 yellows and seven red cards so far, while he officiated 37 matches last term, brandishing 109 cautions and dismissing seven players.

His previous visit to Kenilworth Road was back in April 2009 when he had the 1-1 draw with Rochdale in League Two, giving Town a penalty but booking David Livermore.

He also had the whistle for the 2-1 home defeat to Darlington in that season, when Claude Gnakpa was on target.

Jake Hiller and Nicholas Kinseley are the assistant referees with Robert Hyde the fourth official.

In charge: Keith Curle - 51-year-old, who won three England caps in a career spanning 24 years, with spells at Manchester City, Bristol Rovers, Torquay United, Bristol City, Reading, Wimbledon, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Barnsley and Mansfield.

Was once Man City’s club record signing of £2.5million in 1991, as he was sold for fees over £3.5million during his career.

Became player coach at Sheffield United under Neil Warnick in 2000 and then player boss with Mansfield Town in December 2002.

Was controversially sacked in December 2004, but won a case for wrongful dismissal almost two years later, when by that time he had been appointed Chester City chief.

Lost his job in February 2006, but a year later was head coach at Torquay United, although his contract wasn’t renewed in the summer.

Joined up with Neil Warnock again as a member of his coaching staff at Crystal Palace in October 2007, following the manager to QPR in March 2010, before leaving in January 2012.

Named Notts County boss in February 2012 and equalled a 41-year record by going unbeaten away from home in the league in 10 consecutive games.

Dismissed by the Magpies in February 2013 though and appointed Carlisle manager in September 2014 after Graham Kavanagh lost his job,

View from the opposition: Keith Curle - “They’ve (Luton) got a good squad but we know we can match them if we play to our maximum.

“They’re very attack minded, with a real goal threat, and they will need attention paying to them. We’ll have that usual attention to detail with how we prepare, but the focus will be largely on what we’re going to do and how we’re going to perform.

“They will be very happy with where they are in the league table but that comes with a different sort of pressure. They were expected to get a victory against York, at home, and people will have thought they had a banker six points with us being their next game.

“They only got the one point against York so it puts extra emphasis on them to get more from the game with us. Our job will be to make sure they don’t get it.

“I think it will be a good atmosphere and I expect us to take a very vocal support.”

One to watch: Charlie Wyke - Hatters boss John Still is an admirer of the 22-year-old striker, who joined Carlisle permanently last month.

Made a fine start to life at Brunton Park, with four goals in his first four games, including both in the 2-0 win at Tranmere recently.

Spent time on loan at Hartlepool earlier in the season, netting four times too, where he played against Luton in Town’s 2-1 triumph.

Came through the ranks at Middlesbrough, and had spells at Kettering, Hartlepool again and also AFC Wimbledon until joining the Cumbrians.

We’ve got form: Luton have got an impressive record against Carlisle at Kenilworth Road, winning five, drawing four and losing two of the previous 11 meetings.

Hatters are unbeaten in their last seven matches too, winning five, as their last defeat came over 40 years ago, a 1-0 reverse in the old Division Two back on November 1972.

Town have netted 25 goals, conceding just 12, with two huge wins in the 1970s, racking up a 6-1 success in 1973, before following that up with a 5-0 success in 1977.

Last time out: Luton were held to a 0-0 draw by the Cumbrians in their last meeting at Kenilworth Road, that a League One fixture back in November 2007.

Hatters: Dean Brill, Chris Coyne, Jaroslaw Fojut, Chris Perry, Richard Jackson, Dave Bell, Dave Edwards (Dean Morgan 81), Matthew Spring, Steve Robinson, Darren Currie (Drew Talbot 72), Calvin Andrew.

Subs not used: Steve O’Leary, Don Hutchison, Paul McVeigh.

Attendance: 5,462.

Referee: Gavin Ward.