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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Keogh call-up shows how Carlisle Utd can transform careers

Greg Abbott says he plans to use Richard Keogh’s Ireland call-up as a bargaining chip to summer signings.

Richard Keogh photo
Richard Keogh

The Carlisle United manager believes the way Keogh turned his career around at Brunton Park provides the perfect advertisement for the club during their summer recruitment.

Keogh, who made 95 appearances for the Blues, won his first full cap for Ireland in last week’s 2-0 victory over Poland.

The 26-year-old central defender moved to Carlisle under John Ward when he fell out of favour at Bristol City, and established himself as a fans’ favourite before moving to Coventry and then Derby County.

Abbott reckons Keogh’s success will help convince players that Carlisle is the right club to help them revive their careers when they see how past players have improved during their time at Brunton Park.

The Blues boss said: “Because we’ve not got as much money as other clubs, our selling point is Richard Keogh, Joe Garner, Gary Madine, Danny Graham, Ian Harte, James Chester, Adam Clayton, Ben Marshall. Do I need to go on? They are the reasons why you should be coming to Carlisle. If you see your career hit a bit of a stationary position, we can get you back playing.

“If you’ve got the ability to be better than you’re showing, if you’ve got a bit stale and can’t see progress where you are, we’re a club for you, can develop.”

Abbott believes Carlisle can take credit for Keogh’s transformation into a Championship star and international player.

His eye-catching performances at centre-half and at right-back were a feature of Abbott’s side in the 2009/10 season, before he joined Coventry. He switched to Derby last summer after the Sky Blues’ relegation to League One.

Abbott said: “For me the defining moment with Richard Keogh was when we played on a Tuesday night and we ran him physically on the Wednesday to get his fitness levels better, and his weight. He will tell you about that day. He wanted an argument and we were ready to argue with him. But we told him why we were doing it and ultimately he accepted it. Since then he has gone from strength to strength. From that day everybody at the club can take a little bit of credit, but of course the rest of it is down to Richard.

“Somewhere along the line there might be a moral to this story. We care about our players. I’m having a bit of a war with one of them at the moment. A nice war, but he’s got to listen. If he does, he’ll be alright. If he doesn't, he’ll find things tough.”

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