Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Early goal key to Carlisle Utd success at Portsmouth - Thirlwell

Midfield enforcer Paul Thirlwell believes Carlisle United must go for an early goal to pile the misery on crisis club Portsmouth tomorrow and revive their impressive form.

Paul Thirlwell photo
Paul Thirlwell

Carlisle manager Greg Abbott has drummed into his players the dangers of underestimating Pompey, who are enduring the worst run in their history after going 20 games without a win, including nine successive defeats.

Portsmouth’s deep financial troubles have left them facing relegation, but Thirlwell says the Blues will show the stricken south coast club no mercy, and reckons silencing a vociferous home crowd with an early goal will be key to preventing a shock result.

Carlisle are determined to bounce back from their midweek 3-1 defeat at Scunthorpe – a result which checked their progress after they collected 10 points from their previous four games.

He said: “The first goal in this league is absolutely vital and when we’ve scored first we haven’t lost a game this season.

“That’s especially important against a team on a bad run because if they concede an early goal, it can knock them.

“Hopefully we can get that goal and take it on from there, but it won’t be easy. You are battling against the crowd as well as they have such good support. You don’t want Portsmouth getting their tails up and the fans finding their voice, so that is something else to counteract.”

Thirlwell admits there will have to be a big improvement on Tuesday’s defeat at Scunthorpe if Carlisle are to secure a double over the side they beat 4-2 at Brunton Park in August. But he insists Carlisle are not expecting Portsmouth, who collected a vital point at Hartlepool on Tuesday, to be push-overs.

“The rules don’t change with League One, as you know first and foremost you have to work hard and win your own battles,” he said. “They haven’t had a good run but you don’t know what you are going to get in terms of personnel.

“They could have four or five new players in by the time we face them with the way things are there. The players who are coming into the club are all on short-term deals so they are playing for their future, whether it’s with Portsmouth or not. We have to put Tuesday’s game down to a blip because we had been doing so well.

“It is frustrating but it’s going to happen as you can’t win every game. With the run we had been on and the momentum we’ve picked up, we want to get going again.”


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