Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Carlisle United
The Bluebirds host the Cumbrians in a FA Cup Third Round tie at CCS this Saturday - kick-off at 3:01pm.
Carlisle United compete in League Two, where they currently sit in 21st place on the league table, with 25 points earned from as many matches so far this season.
Forward Harry McKirdy is the top scorer for the side during this campaign, having found the back of the net 8 times for Saturday's opposition. The 22-year-old began his senior career at Aston Villa in 2015, where after loan spells to Stevenage, Crewe Alexandra and Newport County, he signed for Carlisle in June 2019.
The London-born player last scored for the Cumbrians on December 29th, 2019, netting the winner against Walsall in the 94th minute of play. Carlisle United took an away lead against the hosts early in the second half through Nathan Thomas, but conceded with 20 minutes remaining.
Following a red card for the hosts minutes later, McKirdy took made the most of the advantage to head home in injury time, handing head coach Chris Beech his first league win at the club.
In the Hot Seat
Chris Beech has been Carlisle United's head coach since November 2019. Beginning his career as a player for his hometown of Blackpool, Beech also enjoyed spells playing for Hartlepool United, Huddersfield Town and Rochdale, later serving in Rochdale's youth setup as a coach.
Being appointed as caretaker manager for the Dale for six matches from December 2011 before returning to his role in the youth side, Beech was confirmed as assistant manager to Keith Hill for six years between 2013-19.
Since joining, Beech earned his first victory with the Cumbrians in a FA Cup Second Round replay against fellow League Two side Forest Green Rovers, securing their place in the Third Round against the Bluebirds with a 1-0 victory at Brunton Park.
Graham Kavanagh joined Cardiff City from fellow Second Division club Stoke City in 2001 following a five year spell with the Potters. The midfielder made an immediate impact upon his arrival at Ninian Park, being nearly ever-present in his first season spent in South Wales, and being their top goalscorer for the season with 16 goals in all competitions.
Making 43 league appearances throughout his second season at the club, Kavanagh captained the Bluebirds as they progressed through their 2002/03 promotion campaign, reaching the second tier for the first time since 1985.
Playing in the First Division (later Championship) with City between 2003-2005, the Republic of Ireland international later joined Wigan Athletic, where he would enjoy further promotion to the Premier League.
Following spells at Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday, Kavanagh joined Carlisle United in time for the 2008-09 season following a loan spell with the Cumbrians one season prior. Kavanagh made a total of 64 league appearances for Saturday's opponents before retiring following three seasons spent at Brunton Park.