Crewe v Carlisle preview

Team news ahead of the New Year's Day clash between Crewe and Carlisle at Gresty Road.

Last Updated: 31/12/12 at 11:19

Leitch-Smith: Pushing for a start

Leitch-Smith: Pushing for a start

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Ajay Leitch-Smith is pushing for further involvement with the Railwaymen.

On Saturday, Leitch-Smith enjoyed his first action since being sidelined by an ankle injury against Portsmouth in October, coming on to bolster the Alex attack in a 2-1 win at Oldham.

Kelvin Mellor replaced defender Gregor Robertson in the Railwaymen's starting XI at Boundary Park and will hope to keep his place, while all eyes will be on whether boss Steve Davis opts for the 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation having utilised both successfully in recent weeks.

Steve Phillips is set to continue in goal after illness once again ruled Alan Martin out at the weekend.

Versatile midfielder Ollie Turton (thigh) is set to miss out once more as his team-mates chase a fourth win in five League One outings.

Carlisle are expected to be without injured skipper Paul Thirlwell again for the game at Crewe.

Thirlwell, who missed Saturday's win over Bury, has been dogged by injury this season and after a recent return from a calf problem was forced out of the Boxing Day win over Hartlepool after a recurrence of the same problem.

Chris Chantler shook off a knock to his ankle to last the full 90 minutes against Bury and is expected to continue, while fellow midfielder James Berrett (groin) is hoping to start again. He returned to the starting line-up against Bury after a four-game absence and lasted 67 minutes.

Veteran striker Danny Cadamarteri remains sidelined with a calf injury he sustained recently in training.

The Cumbrians secured back-to-back victories for the first time this season on Saturday and climbed eight points clear of the relegation zone.

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