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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Sheffield Utd boss hails 'terrific' Carlisle manager Greg Abbott

Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson today rounded on Greg Abbott’s critics and claimed they don’t appreciate the success the Carlisle United manager has brought the club.

Greg Abbott photo
Greg Abbott

Wilson, who brings his fourth-placed side to Brunton Park tomorrow, said the job Abbott has done at Carlisle over the past four-and-a-half years has earned him huge respect from fellow managers.

The Blades boss said two trips to Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and season-on-season improvement in League One represented a huge achievement for the cash-strapped Cumbrians.

Last Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat against Bournemouth – their eighth home loss and the seventh time they have conceded three or more goals at Brunton Park this season – left Abbott facing more heavy criticism.

To add to Carlisle’s woes, the tie attracted a crowd of only 2,980 – 430 from Bournemouth. But Wilson has sprung to Abbott’s defence and believes the only reason Carlisle are struggling is because of the long injury list that includes Lee Miller, Rory Loy, Peter Murphy, Danny Cadamarteri and now Frank Simek and James Berrett.

Wilson said: “Greg is a terrific manager but he has a few problems with injuries at the moment and I think results have reflected that. He has had nothing but success and won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley.

“They have been in the top half of the table in the last few years and that’s a success in itself. People obviously don’t class that as success because they haven’t been promoted, but it is a real achievement to keep them in the division. It is terrific and I take my hat off to him because it’s not easy. I’m not surprised where they are in the table because of the injury problems they have.

“If you took our best players away, the results would be affected.”

However, Wilson will put his admiration for Abbott to one side when Sheffield United aim to avenge a 3-2 defeat on Cumbrian soil in January.

The South Yorkshire club have lost only two League One games and have conceded just seven goals in 10 away games.

Wilson said: “Carlisle will be desperate to put in a good performance and get a good result to lift them away from the bottom area. They are coming off the back of a defeat and they will be sore. We will expect a bit of a backlash. Confidence will be a bit low so if we can get on top of the game then you can understand to a certain degree if they step off the mark. If you get a set-back early on it can be drastic.

All the pressure is on Carlisle. We have to go up there and put as much pressure on them as we can. If we start well and put them on the back foot, we can put doubts in their minds.”

Abbott faces fans tonight at a forum at the Sunset Suite at Brunton Park, along with owners John Nixon, Andrew Jenkins, Steve Pattison and Norman Steel.

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