It’s now 17 years since Carlisle United managed to win away at Walsall but the Cumbrians go there in a confident mood with two victories from their last three games, and within touching distance of a top six spot.
Meanwhile the Saddlers are struggling to find results at the other end of the table, and with no wins in five outings they find themselves perilously close to the dreaded drop zone.
Walsall gaffer Dean Smith will be without influential defender Andy Butler following his sending off during the 1-0 defeat at Colchester last weekend, but has an otherwise fit squad to choose from as he looks to kick start his side’s campaign.
One man who will have a point to prove is winger Kevan Hurst who left Brunton Park at the end of last season having lost his place in the starting line up when Greg Abbott opted for a switch in tactics and formation.
“I was fit but I wasn’t used as much as I would have liked,” Hurst said. “These things happen in football, but I’ve never really had an explanation for why I lost my place. I’m at Walsall now, and that’s what matters, but there is always a buzz about facing one of your former teams. It’s a game I’m looking forward to.”
Carlisle are likely to have in-form striker Lee Miller back in the fold following his one match absence with a slight groin strain, but Paddy Madden (foot) and Frank Simek (thigh) remain on the sidelines.
But the most interesting selection dilemma for United will be at the back as a first clean sheet in nine games last weekend coincided with the use of three centre backs and a more attacking wing back combination.
“It worked against Stevenage, and it’s given us something to think about,” Greg Abbott said. “However, all we can do is pick a team to go out there and win the game. Whoever the eleven players are, they know they’re going to have work hard. Hopefully they’ll do that and we can get ourselves moving on again.”