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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Abbott throws down gauntlet to Carlisle Utd no2 keeper Gillespie

Carlisle boss Greg Abbott has challenged rookie keeper Mark Gillespie to show he’s good enough to become the Blues No1.

Mark Gillespie photo
Mark Gillespie

Abbott wants the 20-year-old to make a serious bid to oust established keeper Adam Collin during pre-season to ensure competition for the jersey next season. Gillespie, who has penned a new two-year deal, has been told he will be given his chance in this summer’s friendlies to show he is ready to stake a claim for first-team place.

After coming through the ranks at Carlisle, he became the youngest keeper to make an appearance for the club when he made his debut against Norwich City at Carrow Road in May 2010, aged 18 years and 42 days.

Collin has been ever-present in the last two seasons and Abbott believes it is time for Gillespie to crank up the pressure on him.

Abbott said: “We think a lot of Mark as he has done ever so well. Next season is a big season for him as we want him to challenge Adam now.

“I’m absolutely delighted he is going to stay with us as we think he has huge potential.

“There are not many goalkeepers in League One aged 19 or 20 as it tends to be a position where they develop over time and get better with age. But we think it is time for Mark to really push for a place as he is improving and going in the right direction.

“He is going to get the same pitch time in pre-season as Adam. We are talking about competition in all areas of the pitch and Mark will be given an opportunity in pre-season to prove his worth. Adam has to know he has someone breathing down his neck and we will find out in pre-season if he is a serious contender. “

Workington Reds’ highly-rated keeper Aaran Taylor also has a chance to prove he could be a future contender when he joins the club on trial during the first week of pre-season. The 25-year-old, who kept 10 clean sheets last season, has turned down a deal with the Blue Square North club.

Abbott said: “Mark and Adam know Aaran is going to come in and that should put them on their toes.

“He’s not coming in for fun – he’s coming in to see where he is compared to the other two.”

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