Sunday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy final sees two sides with previous experience in the competition, Brentford and Carlisle United, go head to head at Wembley.

For the Bees they will be hoping it's third time lucky after suffering previous defeats to Port Vale in 2001 and Wigan Athletic in 1985.

For Carlisle this will be their sixth appearance in the final and they will be hoping to do better than they have done on four previous occasions. The Cumbrians' only success came back in 1997, when they beat Colchester United 4-3 on penalties, following a goalless draw at Wembley.

Just three points and two places separate the two sides in the npower League 1 table, with Brentford having the slight advantage in ninth place but the form going into the match is quite different.

Brentford have won four of their last five matches, including victories away at Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday, in midweek when they won 3-1 at Hillsborough. The Bees have also beaten Leyton Orient and Carlisle, with their only slip up coming at home to Huddersfield Town when they went down 1-0.

Bees caretaker player boss Nicky Forster has never played at Wembley and he's currently fighting the temptation to name himself in the squad, as he told the London Evening Standard: "There is a big part of me that wants to name myself on the bench. It has been my lifelong dream to play at Wembley. For whatever reason, in 720-odd games I have never got to play there.

"I played at the Millennium Stadium when they were rebuilding Wembley. I have also lost in the semi-finals of the Play-Offs a number of times and in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy semi-final with Brighton.

"Other people are telling me to put myself in the squad but I can't because I would deny someone else the chance of fulfilling their dreams. I have to rise above it and do what's right for the club and the team.

"I suppose the second best thing is to manage a team at Wembley, it's the closest thing to being on the pitch and I am looking forward to it."

Carlisle go into the game having won just one of their last five, that coming at home to Bournemouth a fortnight ago, when they ran out 1-0 winners. As well as the defeat to Sunday's opponents they have also lost away at Peterborough United and Yeovil Town. The other match saw them draw 1-1 at home to Plymouth Argyle.

That will all be forgotten though when the sides line-up at Wembley, the only thing that matters is that the Cumbrians to put in a performance after failing to cope with Southampton last season.

Speaking to Manager Greg Abbott said: "We've deliberately kept the build-up low key because we want the players to prepare in the same way as they do for every game.

"There are bound to be some nerves and some excitement, but if we do things properly then we should be able to manage that.

"We've given ourselves a couple of days to get down there and to train, and to really start to focus on what will be a big game and a fantastic occasion.

"In terms of preparation, we think we've got it right. It is now all about what happens on the day, and we're hoping that we will put in a performance that everyone can be proud of."


Sunday's match will be only the 27th meeting between the two sides, the first of which came in the FA Cup back in 1908 when a 2-2 draw in Cumbria ensured a reply which Calisle won 3-1.

Both npower League 1 meetings this season have ended with wins for the home side. The match at Brunton Park on the opening day of the season saw the Blues win 2-0 with the goals coming from two players now departed - Gary Madine and Ian Harte, from the penalty spot.

The match at Griffin Park only took place last weekend and it was the Bees who came out on top when Jeffrey Schlupp scored his first goals for the club in a 2-1 win. Lubomir Michalik scored the consolation goal for the visitors.

It's Carlisle who slightly edge the head to head but there is only one game in it, they have won 10 while Brentford have won nine and seven matches have ended all square, although that's not an option this weekend.


Brentford's success in this competition so far has come largely down to their ability to keep their nerve, after three penalty shoot-out wins.

The Bees beat Stevenage 1-0 at Broadhall Way in the first round but needed shootouts to settle their next three matches, starting at Leyton Orient.After finishing goalless, Brentford won 5-4 on penalties to set up a trip to Swindon Town. The score at the County Ground ended one apiece before the visitors triumphed 4-2 in the shootout. Another goalless draw followed, this time at home to Charlton Athletic before they progressed 3-1 on penalties.

They met Exeter City in the Southern section final and after drawing 1-1 at home they travelled to St James Park with a new man in charge after Nicky Forster replaced Andy Scott. They were 2-0 up inside the first 26 minutes in the second leg, thanks to goals from Sam Saunders and Gary Alexander and despite Daniel Nardiello's injury time strike they held on to take their place at Wembley.

Carlisle United's route to the final started in the second round - after being handed a bye in round one. They took on Port Vale at home and after the game ended 2-2 the Cumbrians progressed on penalties and set up a home match against Crewe Alexandra, where they really got into their stride winning 3-1. A 3-1 home with over Sheffield Wednesday followed before the semi-finals pitted them against League 1 highfliers Huddersfield Town.

The first leg, at Brunton Park saw the home side take a 4-0 aggregate lead thanks to goals from Ben Marshall, Tom Taiwo, Peter Murphy and Michalik. There were some nervy moments in the second leg though when the Terriers went 3-0 with nine minutes to go but Greg Abbott's side held on to reach the final for the second season in succession.


Graham Salisbury will achieve a life-long ambition when he officiates the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final, after stating in his profile on that his aim as a National List Referee was to take referee a game at Wembley.

So far this season he's taken charge of 28 matches but not involving either of the finalists. He's issued just four red cards and 90 yellow.

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