Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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1,300 Carlisle Utd fans set to travel to Wolves in hope of miracle

A travelling army of about 1,300 Carlisle United fans will watch the Blues drop out of League One tomorrow – triggering a massive summer overhaul at Brunton Park.

Graham Kavanagh photo
Graham Kavanagh

The game at Wolves (kick-off 3pm) will – barring a miraculous sequence of events – see Carlisle fall back into the basement division after eight seasons.

Once United’s seemingly inevitable relegation is confirmed at Molineux, the focus will switch to the club’s plans to rebuild for their 2014/15 campaign in League Two.

Manager Graham Kavanagh, who has a year left on his contract, is hoping the board will continue to back him despite strong criticism from fans.

Either way, the likelihood is that there will be a major clear-out of players from this season’s under-performing squad, with 14 players out of contract and seven loanees set to depart.

A host of players will be heading through the exit door, leaving the club with the massive task of building a new team to compete in the bottom tier and win back lost fans.

Of the current squad, senior men such as James Berrett, Liam Noble, Paul Thirlwell, Chris Chantler, Pascal Chimbonda and Lewis Guy are reaching the end of their current deals and United are unlikely to retain them all.

An exit seems on the cards, meanwhile, for striker Lee Miller following this week’s fall-out with Kavanagh over his apparent skipping of a team meeting.

United will also take the opportunity finally to get the likes of Mike Edwards and the recently retired Danny Cadamarteri off the wage bill.

Decisions are also due on Nacho Novo, Greg Fleming and Jack Lynch, with the loaned-out duo of Danny Livesey and Prince Buaben expected to leave permanently.

And after tomorrow’s game Carlisle’s loan players will return to their parent clubs – the seven being Reece Brown, Sam Byrne, Lucas Dawson, Gary Madine, James Pearson, Jordan Pickford and Danny Redmond.

As it stands only 11 players will be under contract for next season, along with manager Kavanagh.

The club is resigned to its fate with only a tiny chance of survival tomorrow afternoon.

It would rank as one of the club’s most unlikely escapes if they somehow find themselves still in League One at the end of the game against the runaway champions.

Kavanagh’s team need to beat Wolves, hope Crewe and Tranmere both lose, and also enjoy a four-goal swing in the goal-difference column.

With United having won one game in their last 14 – and scored just seven goals in that period – thoughts of a miraculous escape seem extremely fanciful.

The club are planning for life in League Two, with Kavanagh insisting that he is already making preparations for next season and managing director John Nixon starting a round of media interviews in which he intends to explain how the club will cope and try to rebuild.

Kavanagh, despite leading United to their first relegation for a decade, says he will “leave no stone unturned” in a bid to make improvements and also repair his own fledgling managerial reputation.

He has accepted that the squad that is finishing this poor season is badly lacking in quality and needs an overhaul.

“The last few weeks have been difficult trying to get players and teams together to get us over the line,” Kavanagh said.

“The amount of injuries has made things difficult and while other managers would say that, we haven’t had the biggest of squads and we have had to delve into the loan market.

“There are lessons we need to learn for next season and things to put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

If Kavanagh is to retain the support of the board he must also decide whether to retain his backroom staff of assistant Davie Irons and coach Tony Caig.


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