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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Carlisle Utd better off out of second-string league, says Abbott

Greg Abbott says Carlisle United have no plans to rejoin the reserve league – and insists the Blues are better off out of it.

Greg Abbott photo
Greg Abbott

The Cumbrians will not be involved in a second-string league for the third consecutive season when 2012/13 begins.

Under Abbott, Carlisle have preferred to organise a series of friendly ‘bounce’ games in which the manager can test out his fringe players and run the rule over trialists.

And the Blues manager says those matches against top clubs in England and Scotland are much more worthwhile than a discredited reserve division. Carlisle pulled out of the totesport League two years ago with Abbott frustrated that opponents often fielded inexperienced teams which didn’t give his squad enough of a test.

“The bounce games we organise are great to keep everybody fit, we can make substitutions as and when we need, and we get a lot out of them,” Abbott said. “We have had loads of these games, including a few nobody knows about, and we want to keep them as training games.

“We go to clubs with fantastic facilities, and our players would much rather do that on a cold winter's night than go to some of the remote places some clubs choose to play their reserve games, which are awful and probably shouldn't be allowed to hold games.”

United have developed good relationships with clubs in the Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League in recent times.

That has seen bounce games against the likes of Manchester City, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Hibernian.

The Cumbrians have even used such games to run the rule over prospective signings, with a game against Rangers in 2010 leading to the signing of former Ibrox reserve man Rory Loy.

“The type of opposition in these games is great, and it gives us a chance to see players with a view to recruiting them,” Abbott added. “It is win-win for us.”

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