Cup win KOs Greg’s critics

Very wary: Jon-Paul McGovern says the PNE clash is a big game for Carlisle
Very wary: Jon-Paul McGovern says the PNE clash is a big game for Carlisle
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Calm appears to have broken out in the Carlisle ranks just in time for their visit to Preston tonight.

Their 4-2 FA Cup win over Ebbsfleet on Saturday quietened some of the critics in Cumbria.

A home defeat by the same scoreline to Bournemouth the week before had seen much criticism heaped on United boss Greg Abbott and his players.

It had clearly annoyed League One’s longest-serving manager, with questions even being asked about his job.

Reflecting on the FA Cup victory, Abbott said: “I’m pleased with the way the players have dealt with the situation because there has been a ridiculous amount of criticism flying around.

“There is a manager in League One on the same number of points as us (Dean Smith at Walsall), who has just been rewarded for his success and great start to the season with a two-and-a-half year contract.

“So maybe we are a victim of some success over the last few years and expectation has gone beyond the reality.

“With the injuries at the minute, this particular time is difficult and if we want success we’ve got to stick together, and that’s from the chairman down to the youngest supporter.

“If anyone jumps off the ship, times become much more difficult.”

Goals from Dave Symington, Liam Noble, James Berrett and Joe Garner gave Carlisle the win over Conference side Ebbsfleet.

The game saw the return of midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern to action as a substitute, the Scottish playmaker having been troubled by a groin injury for much of the season.

And he is looking forward to being part of the squad for the North End clash, a game which Carlisle followers regard as their derby, despite the 90-mile trip down the M6.

McGovern said: “Preston is a big game. All the boys know what it means to the locals and fans, and we know how much it means to ourselves.

“They had a good result on Saturday and so will have momentum.

“We have certainly got something to prove and hopefully we can do that.”

Carlisle are 14th in the table, their recent record perhaps not deserving of some of 
the criticism they’ve been getting.

Their defeat to Bournemouth had been preceded by a 3-1 win over Oldham.

Before that they’d suffered losses to Notts County and Colchester either side of a 1-1 draw at Bury.

With away wins at Coventry and Walsall thrown into the mix, it seems more a case of inconsistency rather than anything too serious.