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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Delighted Carlisle Utd Greg Abbott feeling ‘like Santa Claus'

Greg Abbott says the response of his squad to the early days of pre-season training has put him in festive mood.

Carlisle Utd  photo
Carlisle Utd players training

The Carlisle United manager is putting his players – including four trialists – through their paces ahead of the Blues’ first pre-season friendly at Kendal on Friday.

And Abbott says he could not be more delighted to be back on the training ground with a squad he believes can flourish in 2010/11.

“It’s like Christmas to be back working with the players,” Abbott said.

“It’s nice to have a break over the summer but decorating and gardening becomes boring after a while.

“When you get the round thing out, start kicking it about and shouting and bawling at players, you get that buzz back. I’m like Santa Claus at the moment.”

Trialists Francois Zoko, Jake Simpson, Patrick Cregg and Billy Gibson were among the players involved in yesterday’s session on the Sheepmount, along with new signings Jason Price, Craig Curran, Frank Simek and Sean McDaid.

Former Huddersfield midfielder James Berrett, who yesterday became Abbott’s fifth summer signing, completed his move to United in time to take part in the afternoon training session.

Abbott – who says he expects to look at “another four or five” trialists in the coming weeks – said: “The players are in terrific shape and we are looking forward to what’s ahead.

“On the first day back I was staggered by the levels of fitness they have got. There is an optimism and an energy in the squad.”

The United boss said his new signings are all living locally, something he expects will only benefit his side as they prepare for a 12,000 mile round trip in League One this term.

“Craig, Frankie and Sean have all moved locally which shows 100 per cent commitment and a bit more,” the manager said.

“Jason is also going to stay in the Carlisle area which cuts down on travel time and weariness. When you think that our first away game is at Plymouth, that is more than enough travelling without an extra four hours’ round trip to get to training on a Monday morning.

“We need to get as many players as we can to show that type of commitment and alleviate one of the problems of weariness through travelling.”

Abbott said there was no time limit on Zoko, Simpson, Cregg and Gibson’s stay with United. All four are likely to play for 45 minutes against Kendal along with the rest of the squad.

Abbott's new assistant manager Graham Kavanagh is now taking a more hands-on role on the training ground as former number two Dennis Booth – now head of football affairs – assumes behind-the-scenes work at Brunton Park, including work on transfer targets.

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