Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Team Are Up for This - Abbott; Wembley Is No Distraction for Carlisle Says Manager

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Team Are Up for This - Abbott; Wembley Is No Distraction for Carlisle Says Manager

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

GREG Abbott is a huge fan of Mick Wadsworth, but thinks his Hartlepool counterpart is clutching at straws if he expects an under-motivated Carlisle tonight.

Wadsworth's men are at Brunton Park in League One, less than a month before the Cumbrians' second Wembley appearance in 12 months.

The much-travelled Wadsworth has been there, and got the T-shirt. He led Carlisle to the 1995 Football League Trophy final, where they lost to Birmingham City.

Drawing on that experience, he said: "Don't let anyone tell you having a cup final to look forward to is not a distraction." Abbott begs to differ.

"If you look at the (recent Carlisle) results, Mick's got that completely wrong," he responded.

"If they took their eye off the ball they would be sat watching games alongside me. They've got to perform or they're not going to be playing in the next game, never mind Wembley. Maybe it's Mick's experience but it hasn't been like that for me. I'm surprised he allowed that to happen."

That said, Abbott is hugely impressed with the job Wadsworth has done at Victoria Park. Tonight's should be a meeting of equals between two clubs on tight budgets whose inconsistency has left them just two points and two places apart in mid-table.

"Hartlepool are probably in a similar situation to us in what they can spend," he said.

"What Mick Wadsworth has done is a phenomenal achievement."

Abbott's solution has been to rely on youth, much of it borrowed from the FA Premier Reserve League. It might not be the long-term blueprint, but it is the plan for the foreseeable future.

"Carlisle United have got to find people other people don't know about," he argued.

"Every signing is a big risk - we've got to strike hard and early before they're out of our price range. Maybe in a few years we can do it differently, but for now it's the way we've got to do things. …

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