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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Carlisle Utd boss wants loan star to go out with bang in must-win game

Greg Abbott has urged loan star Jordan Cook to sign off in style tomorrow as the play-off chasing Blues manager pledges to go for the jugular against Exeter.

Jordan Cook photo
Jordan Cook

Cook, the Sunderland forward, will play the last game of his loan spell as the Cumbrians aim to keep their play-off hopes alive with the win which would also send their visitors down.

Carlisle must achieve a better result than sixth-placed Stevenage – who go to Sheffield United – in order to retain a chance of making the play-offs.

And Cook, who has scored three goals in his 93-day loan from his Premier League club, is set to be asked to lead an all-out attacking effort against the Grecians (Brunton Park, 3pm) in his 14th game for United.

Abbott – who did not rule out a move for the 22-year-old next season – said: “Jordan has done everything I thought he would for us and there are signs he can be a good player.

“We like him and I think he likes us and hopefully he can finish off with a bang.”

Asked if Cook could return to Carlisle in the 2012/13 season, Abbott said: “Obviously he’s on the radar, because he’s here. But a lot of things need to happen before we pin down who we are targeting. We need to finish off this season first.”

Carlisle’s boss knows the Blues must win their last two games to stand a realistic chance of snatching sixth place from Stevenage, who are three points clear of the Cumbrians with a superior goal difference.

Seventh-placed Notts County are a point ahead of Carlisle and they travel to Wycombe tomorrow.

Exeter, meanwhile, are five points adrift of safety with two games to go but Abbott insists both teams’ desperation for victory will lead to an entertaining spectacle, not a tense one.

“There might be a bit of fear in their play but with the odds stacked against them, their way might be just to take the game to us and go for it.

“Expect an open game, because we’re going into the game with as much attacking intent as possible. It could be an absolute cracker. It’s a feisty game at the end of the season with a lot depending on it for both.

“A draw is no use to anybody – it should be open and attacking.”

Abbott has decisions to make in his back four, with Matty Robson pushing for a start after he made his comeback as a sub in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

Peter Murphy has been deputising at left-back in the absence of Robson and Chris Chantler, with Lubo Michalik having returned to partner Danny Livesey at centre-half. Abbott is also considering a recall for JP McGovern, who was left on the bench at Hillsborough as Paddy Madden started.

The United boss insists his side still believe they can achieve the result they need tomorrow to take the race to the last day, providing Stevenage – who have a huge goal difference advantage – do not win at Bramall Lane.

“The players are probably a bit frustrated with the last few results but they crack on, they keep going,” said Abbott.

“We have to go out with as big an excitement as we can.”

Abbott did not comment on the Twitter controversy involving Liam Noble, who came under criticism this week for comments aimed at former club Sunderland and branding a Sunderland fan a “mong”.

The midfielder’s Twitter account has since been deleted.

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