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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Ex-Newcastle youngster urged to stake his claim for Carlisle Utd deal

Former Newcastle prospect Ryan Donaldson has been challenged to force his way to the front of the queue for a contract with Carlisle United.

Ryan Donaldson photo
Ryan Donaldson

The ex-Magpies starlet is the latest player to link up with the Blues on trial and played in last night’s friendly at Durham City.

The 21-year-old could now get another chance to impress in Brunton Park’s first pre-season game when SPL side St Mirren visit on Friday night.

The attacking midfielder is available as a free agent and manager Greg Abbott has urged the former top-flight youngster to grab his opportunity.

“Ryan is somebody we have known about, and he’s now got to come in and prove he’s better than what we’ve got,” said Abbott.

“He is on our doorstep and it was a perfect game for him to come and play.

“He did okay, was bright in the first half, though we didn’t get enough ball to him in the second half.

“We’ll have a good look at him. He is in good nick and could play part of the game on Friday. It would be absolutely daft of us not to take a look.”

Donaldson has recently spent time with St Johnstone following his exit from St James’ Park.

The former England Under-19 international had loan spells with Tranmere and Hartlepool last year and made six first-team appearances for Newcastle, where he had been on the books for more than 10 years.

Abbott used last night’s match to take another look at Donaldson’s fellow trialists Alessio Bugno, Mark Kerr and Dale Hopson, while Jonathan Meades sat the game out.

All five could figure against St Mirren, after which the Blues boss is likely to make some decisions on their fates.

Scottish winger Jim McAlister and Workington Reds keeper Aaran Taylor have already ended their trial spells, with United choosing not to pursue their interest in either player.

Abbott is also continuing his chase for new signings, with four targets being closely monitored.

The United manager is keen to add more attacking options to his squad.

He said: “One of the four is a real long shot but I’m going to chase him until he tells me he’s doing something different.

“The others are all impact players who would definitely add to the squad and be better than what we’ve got.

“It’s a patience game and I would feel at least two of them might become available but maybe not for a week to 10 days.”

JP McGovern’s bid to be fit for the new season is set for a boost.

Experienced winger McGovern, whose groin problem has kept him out of Carlisle United’s first four friendlies, could be back in training as early as next Monday.

McGovern was understood to be facing a race against time to be ready for the season’s opener against Accrington Stanley in the Capital One Cup on August 11.

But manager Greg Abbott today sounded an optimistic note on the former Swindon man.

“This isn’t a time to be rushing people, but JP is as eager as anyone to get back in amongst it,” said Abbott.

“He has had tight groins for a while but it looks like that has been remedied and he could be back with us on Monday.”

Despite his frustrating lay-off, McGovern remains with the rest of the United squad on their week-long training camp in the north-east.

Young midfielder Josh Todd is facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s 2-2 draw with Celtic Nation.

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