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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Fit-again Miller inspires much-needed Carlisle United win

Goal hero Lee Miller banished months of injury agony as Carlisle United enjoyed a Christmas cracker against Hartlepool.

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From this...Carlisle players celebrate their victories over Hartlepool and Bury

The big Scot claimed United’s clinching third goal – his first since March – in the much-needed victory over League One’s bottom side.

Miller’s late header sparked jubilant celebrations as it rounded off a 3-0 derby win, and manager Greg Abbott was quick to salute the fit-again striker.

“It was nice to see Lee score and impose himself on the other players within our team,” Abbott said.

“He brings out the best in them. His influence in the team creates a better side.”

United’s first win in five took them up two places to 18th in League One.

A Sam Collins own-goal and a second from the impressive Matty Robson had put the Blues in command before Miller’s effort.

Carlisle’s third home win in the league this season also brought only their second clean sheet of the campaign.

And though the Boxing Day victory came against a side who have not won for a club record 22 matches, Abbott insisted it had eased some of the recent heavy pressure.

Defeat to John Hughes’ side would have been “catastrophic,” said the manager.

“That performance and result were about the team and the club, everybody together,” he added.

“For a lot of different reasons it was probably the toughest game I’ve had as a manager at this club.

“If the result hadn’t gone the way we wanted, we would have probably have lost a lot of belief outside the dressing room.

“I’ve been through the wringer. I’m a proud person, I want to do well for the club, for the fans, the board, the players, my family, everybody. I know how big this was.

“The players dug deep. We know we are in debt to the crowd but I hope they got something back this time.” Miller’s goal came in just his second outing since his return from the ankle injury which kept him out since August.

Abbott now hopes the 29-year-old can become even more influential and spark a rise up the table, continuing with Saturday’s visit of Bury.

The manager insisted nobody at Brunton Park would be allowed to become complacent after a single victory against League One’s basement side.

But he could not disguise his delight at the rare clean-sheet, adding: “I’ve forgotten what to say to the back four about that. I had to look at my notes from last year.

“But they owed us, and I’ve no problem with saying that. We put pressure on them to keep clean sheets because we know at the other end we can score goals.

“For everybody 3-0 is probably the perfect scoreline. It says it was a comfortable afternoon.

“But it’s only the start. We’ve got a tougher game coming up on Saturday, and an even tougher game after that. It’s just a result that we needed, a tonic.”

jcolman@cnmedia.co.uk

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