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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Sean O'Hanlon back in training and set to return for Carlisle Utd

Sean O’Hanlon is on course for a Carlisle United recall to help turn their season around against Coventry – just like he did last season.

Sean O
Sean O'Hanlon

The badly-missed centre-half is in training ahead of this Saturday’s home clash with the Sky Blues.

O’Hanlon has not kicked a ball for United for more than a month, with a knee injury keeping him out of most of their pre-season programme.

But under-fire boss Greg Abbott is ready to rush the 30-year-old back this weekend as he is desperate for a result after Carlisle’s heavy back-to-back defeats since the start of the new campaign.

A recall for O’Hanlon would represent a gamble by the United manager with the ex-MK Dons and Hibs man having so little recent football under his belt.

But his experience is regarded as vital to a Carlisle rearguard that has shipped 12 goals in three games in league and cup so far.

O’Hanlon made his United debut against Coventry in January at a time when the Cumbrians were also desperate to plug leaks at the back.

His display proved one of the highlights of the season, when he helped the Blues to a 1-0 win after a bruising contest which saw the defender leave the pitch with a blood-soaked head bandage.

He has not figured for Carlisle since the first half of the Workington Reds friendly on July 9. Since then, he has been sidelined with a knee problem which has required a series of injections.

The winning goal in last season’s home victory against Coventry was scored by Matty Robson – another player who has a chance of featuring this weekend.

But that would be an even bigger gamble with the winger still on the comeback trail after a back problem.

A full debut for Paul Black at left-back seems likely, with Abbott set to rely on the loan signing’s extra experience ahead of Patrick Brough.

Manchester United loan man Reece James remains at Old Trafford having his thigh injury assessed. The Blues have yet to say for how long James is likely to be sidelined.

n Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni admitted he was impressed by Paddy Madden after the ex-United striker came off the bench for his international debut.

Madden replaced Wes Hoolahan for the final 21 minutes in the goalless draw against Wales and forced a save from home keeper Boaz Myhill.

It was another stage in Madden’s remarkable rise after he left Carlisle for Yeovil last season before ending up as League One’s top scorer and helping the Glovers to promotion.

Trapattoni said: “He looked good, Paddy is a bit like Simon Cox in that he is quick.

“He does not have the same level of experience as Cox but he has a nose for goal.

“It gives us another offensive possibility. It was good to see him in this friendly and we will continue to follow him. He can be very useful for us.”

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