Billy Paynter opened his Carlisle United account on Tuesday night and AFC Wimbledon will have to keep a close eye on the striker when they make the long trip to Cumbria this weekend.
The experienced 30-year-old striker is a summer signing at Brunton Park and has been identified as one of three key men to watch by Carlisle United reporter Jon Colman at the Carlisle News & Star.
Paynter started his career at Port Vale and made more than 150 appearances for the Valiants but it was at Swindon Town where he really made his name, notching 51 times in 135 outings, earning him moves to Leeds and Doncaster.
Colman explained: “Billy Paynter will be key up front. He’s one of the biggest summer signings they’ve made and, given his pedigree, they hope he’ll get goals in League Two. He hasn’t started off particularly well but he’s been part of a struggling team. I think Carlisle will be relying on him a lot to get on the end of things this season.”
Harry Pell will be missing from the Dons midfield through suspension after seeing red in Tuesday’s penalty shootout win over Southend.
Colman reckons the centre of the park could be dominated by Carlisle’s Brad Potts and has warned Neal Ardley’s side they will have to be at their best to beat goalkeeper Mark Gillespie.
He explained: “Brad Potts is a local lad who has come through the youth ranks and is in his third year as a professional now.
“Brad was one of the better players from a bad team last season and he has a lot of energy in midfield. He gets up and down a lot, a real athlete, so he has got the physical presence. Scouts have been to watch him a few times.
“Mark is another home-grown goalkeeper. He missed most of last season through injury but before that he was making a bit of a name for himself and playing very well. He’s come back and started this season brightly, barring one poor game, so he’s one of the club’s best assets.”
Carlisle head into the game under the watch of club captain Paul Thirlwell and goalkeeping coach Tony Caig following the sacking of Graham Kavanagh as manager this week.
They made a winning start in the midweek JPT victory over Accrington but Colman doesn’t expect the pair to get the job permanently.
He added: “They managed to get a win out of them in midweek in the JPT but I don’t think those two will be in the running. It’s a complete guessing game as to who they were going to bring in.
“I think they will give it another go on Saturday and then see how quickly they need to make a decision. The two that are there will just steady the ship.
“Kavanagh did some good work behind the scenes but it wasn’t working on the field. They had only won about one game in their last 21 and the performance on Saturday when they were beaten 5-0 by Cambridge was pretty dire.
"I think it was inevitable that he was going. It would've been strange if they'd not sacked him after that"