Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carlisle Lift off Their Shackles; Abbott Aims to Entertain despite Striker Shortage

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carlisle Lift off Their Shackles; Abbott Aims to Entertain despite Striker Shortage

Article excerpt

AFTER a weekend point which was far more pleasing to him than it was on the eye of any paying spectator, Greg Abbott is hoping to take the shackles off his Carlisle United side tonight, writes STUART RAYNER.

If Saturday's League One trip to Wycombe Wanderers was all about grinding out a point, there will be far greater emphasis on entertainment in tonight's visit of Millwall.

The 0-0 draw at Adams Park consolidated Carlisle's mid-table position and, with a Wembley cup final to look forward to at the end of the month and play-off-chasing opponents under far great pressure than themselves tonight, Abbott wants his players to enjoy the freedom it has afforded them.

"Saturday wasn't a great game or a great spectacle but we kept a clean sheet and that was important," he reflected. "It was a job done professionally if not that entertainingly. "We've been telling the players to express themselves every game anyway, but it doesn't always happen like that. But the players have been very bright in training and we're hopeful we can put on a good performance in front of our own fans.

"Millwall are going to go for a win but I think our players are looking forward to it. We generally play better against the teams in the top six."

The Cumbrians seem to have overcome the mini-slump which followed reaching the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final. They still appeared to be running on the euphoria of a penalty shoot-out success over Leeds United when they thrashed Milton Keynes Dons 5-0, but then went on to lose their next three games. A win and a draw from their last two suggests the squad is back on track.

"If you look at last season and you look at where we are this season, we're in much better shape," Abbott argued with some justification.

"We had a little bit of a blip with the three games we lost but we're back on track now. …

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