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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Shortlisted Carlisle Utd boss reveals his 'hunger and ambition'

Carlisle United manager Greg Abbott has spoken about his personal “hunger and ambition” in the week he was linked with a shock departure from Brunton Park to Championship club Hull City.

Greg Abbott photo
Greg Abbott

The Blues boss has emerged as a contender for the vacancy at the KC Stadium after impressing the Hull hierarchy with the job he has done on limited resources at Brunton Park.

Abbott, a former Hull captain during his spell there as a player from 1992-96, is said to be on a shortlist which sees former Derby and Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies the favourite to replace sacked Nick Barmby.

The Carlisle manager’s stock is undoubtedly rising in the game after he steered the Blues to a third successive improved league placing, narrowly missing out on the play-offs.

After United ended the season in eighth place, Abbott was asked by The Cumberland News about the possibility that he could now be on the radar of bigger clubs.

He said: “I don’t know. I’m an ambitious man. I’m a hungry, fighting, ambitious man. And I want the best for myself and the best for my family.

“I also want to do the best for Carlisle and want whatever comes after this to mean I’ve been successful with this particular club.

“I just do my best. If somebody says you’ve done this and done that, then great. I think we’ve done alright. We’ve improved every year I’ve been a manager so I just want that to continue.”

Those comments were made before it emerged in reports on Humberside that Abbott was under consideration for the Hull vacancy, which also has Phil Brown, Lee Clark and Mick McCarthy reportedly in the running.

Carlisle have refused to confirm or deny reports of Hull's interest in the Cumbrians' manager, only insisting the club does not comment on speculation.

Abbott has been away from United on a short break since he completed his round of contract offers on Monday but is due back at his desk next week.

Davies remains the odds-on favourite for the job and has reportedly been sounded out by Hull but their owners Assem and Ehab Allam – who fired Barmby over his public comments about club finances – are said to be open-minded about other candidates.

Abbott has caught the eye after leading Carlisle to improved league finishes in three consecutive seasons and also landing the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2011.

Now the 10th longest-serving manager in the country, he has mainly operated on limited funds and has shown a knack for signing and developing exciting young players – one of whom, former loanee James Chester, is now Hull’s star player.

Abbott has only maintained he is pressing on with his plans to rebuild Carlisle for the 2012/13 season, after offering new deals to eight out-of-contract players.

The Blues manager, who has another year left on his own contract, has previously insisted he would never apply for other jobs whilst at Carlisle. The Hull reports will have the United board on alert and will prove that Abbott, after three painstaking years rebuilding the Blues team, is now becoming an in-demand manager.

Abbott has made little secret of his wish for greater resources to give Carlisle a stronger chance of reaching the Championship – an ambition he insists remains as strong as ever.

“Everybody knows the obstacles I’ve got,” he said. “I need help now, to drive the club forward. We need the funds to compete with everybody else.

“You’re asking your chairman, you’re asking your board, asking your fans, asking your commercial side, asking all the big companies in Carlisle, just please come to the party and give us a fighting chance to deliver.

“Up to press, the record that we’ve got while I’ve been in place is 20th, 14th, 12th and eighth. Let’s have a little bit more and let’s see if we can live the dream.

“Because the people in Carlisle deserve a dream. And I hope and pray it’s me that delivers it. I’ll feel like I haven’t succeeded if we don’t give them something to dream about.

“Yes, we’ve got the cup runs but I want the dream like everybody else.

“I’m a pretty determined character underneath all this sort of stuff. We keep fighting on.”

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