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Friday, 18 April 2014

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We're not underdogs against Bournemouth, says Carlisle United Greg Abbott

Carlisle United boss Greg Abbott has dubbed today’s big-spending FA Cup foes Bournemouth as “the Manchester United of League One”.

But Abbott insists that his Blues team will not go into today’s crucial second round tie believing they are underdogs.

And the Carlisle manager also insisted the financial pressure on winning this afternoon’s game (Brunton Park, 3pm) was not in his mind as he prepared his team.

The Cumbrians must raise their game to overcome Eddie Howe’s in-form Cherries, who are backed by Russian billionaire Maxim Demin.

Abbott said: “Eddie has had a sensational start to his reign and Bournemouth are the Manchester United of the division.

“By that I mean they have got more money than anybody else and they are spending it wisely.

“It’s probably the toughest game we’ve faced in a few weeks because of the run they have had and the absolute quality they’ve got. But I would never talk of us as underdogs, or overdogs. We are just going into the game knowing that if we play to the best of our ability, we can cause anybody problems.”

Abbott has received a boost ahead of the cup clash with Derby having agreed to let United use loanee Valentin Gjokaj. Captain Paul Thirlwell could also rejoin today’s squad after making his return from an ankle injury.

Abbott, though, will be expected to name an unchanged side as he bids to secure a place in the third round – where a money-spinning tie against a Premier League club would offer a massive boost to the cash-strapped Blues.

The United boss, though, maintains that the financial importance of getting through – £27,000 prize money also goes to today’s winners – is not weighing on his mind.

“Everybody wants more money but there is always pressure on every game,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say that’s at the fore of my mind. My main priority is to provide the best performance we can.

“As a club we have to show we are better than we were when we last played Bournemouth. Winning games is the key and with that comes rewards.”

Abbott also played down the fact that United need to turn around their home form, to continue their progress after last weekend’s much-needed 3-1 win at Yeovil.

“I don’t think players listen to doubters,” he added. “They have trained fantastically well and are just keen to start winning games, whether home or away. We are not making issues of anything.”

Kallum Higginbotham cannot be involved today under the terms of his loan from Huddersfield but fellow loanees Joe Garner and Sean McGinty are free to play.

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