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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JPT Final - Brentford vs. Carlisle

With Brentford and Carlisle United meeting at Wembley for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final on Sunday, Turls gives his thoughts ahead of the showpiece occasion.

As I sit and hide from angry Sheffield Wednesday fans in my underground bunker, eating tins of red kidney beans and drinking cans of Shandy Bass, I came up with a foolproof plan of writing an article that can in no way vex the Megson Mob.

The Football League Trophy is being contested this weekend as North meets South at Wembley. This has no impact on Wednesday fans because they soon won't be in it as the glorious Gary Megson guides his mighty Owls to League One glory.

But enough about the Total Football that is being seen at Hillsborough and let's move on to the most magical day of the year: Football League Trophy Final Day.

Brentford make the short trip to Wembley to compete in their third JPT Final, having beaten Exeter in the Southern Final. The Bees had a few scares on the way, having to use the non-lottery that is penalties.

They've never won the Football League Trophy and will be looking to banish the demons of defeats in 1985 and 2001. They are a strong outfit and should cause some problems on their day.

They also have an almost identical record to their opponents and actually beat the boys from up North in their most recent fixture.

They'll certainly fancy their chances of walking away from Wembley with the trophy tucked under their collective arm.

I'm not going to dwell on Brentford too much though, because I want to talk about their opponents - who seem to be a permanent attendee of this occasions.

Carlisle United have been to the final of this competition six times. Six! That's twice more than any other club and yet they need a victory to become the competition's most successful team.

Despite going to the national stadium more times than a Club Wembley member, Carlisle have only won the competition once, and that was back in 1997.

Carlisle will be seeking to avoid a repeat of last year's defeat in the final

The Cumbrians got to the final last year, where they had their asses handed to them by Southampton. I happened to be in Cumbria on the day of the final, as I was visiting my fiance's family.

It wasn't a good day, mainly because they thought I wanted Saints to win because I was more southern than they are - and also because I had predicted them to win, comfortably.

Anyway, that's not important. Carlisle are a club who seem to focus on this Trophy every year. They live for the competition.

Why? Is it because they think that they don't have the resources to fight for promotion? Is it because they realise they are too good to get dragged into a relegation battle?

Or is it because the majority of their players recognise that this competition may be their only chance to win a trophy at Wembley?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I do know this - Carlisle United love the Football League Trophy.

I've covered my passion for the JPT before, and Nobes will be putting up his beautiful preview of the game later in the week - if he doesn't I'll give him a kicking.

Carlisle need to win for two reasons - firstly by winning they will become the most successful club in the history of the competition and they need to forget about the three defeats since their last triumph.

Secondly, I'm visiting the fiance's family again this weekend. If they don't win, I reckon the wedding might be off!

Turls' Prediction: Brentford 0
Carlisle United 2

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