Carlisle United vs Stockport County predicted lineups: Will Jon Mellish start after serving his suspension?

Carlisle United vs Stockport County predicted lineups: Will Jon Mellish start after serving his suspension?
Stockport County's Fraser Horsfall (centre) applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League Two match at Brisbane Road, London. Picture date: Saturday April 29, 2023. - Photo by Icon sport

Carlise United take on Stockport County on Sunday afternoon at Wembley Stadium in the League Two playoff final. Both teams had to come from behind in the second legs of their semi finals after suffering defeats away from home so will both be feeling confident ahead of this one.

After being relegated from League One in 2013/14, Carlisle have enjoyed a ten-year stay in League Two but that could all end on Sunday with a victory over Stockport County. Manager, Paul Simpson, has steered his team superbly this season and they finished in 5th place in League Two, after a hectic end to the season where they diced with potentially missing the playoffs altogether.

Stockport’s passage through to the playoffs was much more straightforward thanks to a 13-game unbeaten run at the end of the season. In the end, they finished just four points shy of the automatic promotion spaces but were pushed all the way to penalties by Salford City in the playoff semi finals. A win on Sunday would mean back-to-back promotions for Dave Challinor’s side after they won the Conference Premier last season.

The match is set to kick off at 13:30 UK time and viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch it on SkySports Main Event and SkySports Football.

Carlisle United Team News: Jon Mellish returns for The Blues

The big news out of the Carlisle United ahead of this one is the return of Jon Mellish who is once again available following serving his suspension. The defender, who has been an ever-present for The Blues all season, was sent off against Salford City during the penultimate game of the league season which meant he was unavailable for both legs of their semi final against Bradford City.

Mellish is expected to go straight back into the starting lineup for the match at Wembley which will mean one of Corey Whelan, Paul Huntington or Ben Barclay will miss out if Simpson elects to continue with a back three. One other option for the Carlisle boss is to bring Mellish back into the fold but to him play him in midfield.

The 25-year-old has played in midfield at times for the season and a return there could mean disappointment for Alfie McCalmont who would likely be the man to miss out if Simpson elects to go down this route.

In terms of injuries, Jack Ellis remains out but Callum Guy is expected to be okay to play again for the Cumbrians. Guy was a doubt for the semi final second leg but ended up playing for the entire 120 minutes and produced one of his best performances of the season in the process.

Stockport County Team News: Is Southam-Hales the only absentee for County?

Going into the match, Macauley Southam-Hales is the only player who is definitely unavailable for selection after being missing since the turn of the year with a long-term injury. The midfielder suffered a terrible head injury in December and it remains unclear when or if he will return to football.

Other doubts for Dave Challinor include Kyle Wooton and Antonio Sarcevic. Wooton has missed the last month of action but he is said to have a chance of at least making the squad for the game at Wembley on Sunday. The forward has netted 14 league goals this season so Challinor will be keen to have him available.

Sarcevic returned from a six-game injury layoff to make the bench against Salford City in the second leg of the club’s playoff semi-final last week. He came on late in the game and ended up scoring the winning penalty in the shootout and he is expected to be okay again on Sunday.

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