Promoted neighbours to meet next month

Cumbria’s two promoted clubs, Workington and Carlisle United, will play each other at Borough Park in pre-season action on Saturday 15 July (3pm).

The two clubs have rubber-stamped arrangements for the annual friendly, with Paul Simpson bringing his much celebrated squad to west Cumbria next month. Admission details will be announced in due course.

Danny Grainger and Paul Simpson

Reds and United finished their respective seasons in a blaze of glory by gaining promotion via the play-offs, Workington returning to Step 3 of the non-league Pyramid and Carlisle making a long-awaited return to the third tier of English football.

It is the third time they have both been promoted at the end of the same season. Most famously, they featured in the Division Four promotion race of 1963-64 with United (2nd, 60 points) and Reds (3rd, 59 points) making the leap to Division Three alongside champions, Gillingham (1st, 60 points) and fourth-placed Exeter City (58 points).

More recently, the 2004-05 campaign in fact, United went up from the Conference Premier for a swift return to the Football League whilst Reds attained Conference North status after being promoted via the NPL play-offs.

Then in April, Workington gained promotion, via the play-offs, to the Premier Division of the NPL after finishing third in the regular season. United emerged the better side in their two-match semi-final against Bradford City, soon after, and gained their promotion at Wembley following a penalty shoot-out decider against Stockport County.

So, no apologies for heaping more plaudits on Paul Simpson and Danny Grainger – and their respective squads – a fantastic achievement by both clubs.

The focus now is on the step-up and the Cumbrian derby will provide both Reds and Blues with valuable game time as they go through the rigours of pre-season.

It will be United’s 37th summer visit to west Cumbria since the late seventies and their current run – seven successive victories – has seen them score three goals six times in succession.

Twelve months ago, Ryan Edmondson’s first half brace put United in the driving seat but their third, an unavoidable own-goal, was netted just before the final whistle.

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