Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Foxes Must Get on Track - Ward; Manager Demands Positive Response after Setback

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Foxes Must Get on Track - Ward; Manager Demands Positive Response after Setback

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Gilder

JOHN Ward has challenged Carlisle's players to get their Championship promotion push back on track this afternoon as he prepares to return to his former club.

The Brunton Park boss spent three full seasons in charge at Bristol Rovers, but having seen his team suffer an unexpected reverse at Tranmere this week, he knows there can be no room for sentiment at the Memorial Stadium.

Before Boxing Day's 2-0 defeat at Prenton Park, the Cumbrians had lost just once under Ward's guidance and a manager determined to keep his side in the League One title race is hoping for a similar response following an unforeseen setback.

"I'm not hoping for it - I'm looking for it," he said, recalling a 2-1 defeat at Yeovil on October 13 and the subsequent eight-match unbeaten league run that established Carlisle as genuine contenders for promotion. "The players have been told that, and they agree. We've just come out of an eight-game unbeaten run, and should we have another, the Tranmere game will only be mentioned in passing. That has to be the aim."

Fourth-place Carlisle are four points behind Swansea, the League One leaders, but have games in hand over Nottingham Forest and Leeds United - the two other clubs above them in the standings. Having seen Ward get the Cumbrians into such a strong position, the Brunton Park board are preparing to back their manager in the transfer market.

Bristol City's Richard Keogh - on loan at Carlisle - is expected to complete a permanent transfer next week, while Barnsley's Kayode Odejaye and Forest's Scott Dobie, a former Foxes favourite, are on the club's wanted list.

In the short term, Ward's focus is fixed on this afternoon's match in Bristol and, although Rovers are facing a fight for their League One lives, their former manager expects a testing game.

"I had some good times there, I enjoyed it, it's a proper football club," he added. …

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