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Friday, 28 November 2014

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No choice but to stick with our struggling defenders, says Carlisle Utd boss

Under-fire boss Greg Abbott today insisted he has no choice but to stick with his struggling defenders – despite Carlisle United now having shipped more than 40 goals in League One.

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Hanging his head: Danny Livesey, right, after Neil Collins’s second-half goal

The Cumbrians’ goals-against record of 41 from 21 games is the worst in their division after another three were conceded against Sheffield United.

The crisis is particularly serious at home, where 18th-placed United have lost their last four league games and let in 28 goals from 11 outings.

But when asked if he still had faith in his under-performing rearguard players to raise their game, Abbott said: “We have no choice, the players have no choice, I have no choice. As a group, manager and a team we’ve got to be miles better defensively, simple as that.”

Carlisle’s leakiness at Brunton Park showed no sign of improving in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to the third-placed Blades.

It was the eighth time the Blues have conceded three goals or more in a home match in 2012/13.

Abbott again stuck with experienced players at the heart of the back four, with Derby loanee Valentin Gjokaj left on the bench.

Manchester United man Sean McGinty, who last week extended his loan, was not among the subs as Abbott went with Mike Edwards and scorer Danny Livesey at centre-half.

Matty Robson was switched to left-back and Brad Potts at right-back for the defeat, which was watched by 4,892 fans including 897 travelling Blades supporters.

Abbott, who insists he will turn around his team’s fortunes, said he will continue searching for new ways to make Carlisle more solid as United now head into a massive run of games against the strugglers in their division.

The next four matches are all against members of the relegation zone, starting with next weekend’s trip to Shrewsbury.

Asked if it was now time to accept that United were in a relegation battle, the manager replied: “Well, we are safer saying there’s a survival fight than a promotion fight right now.

“There’s no magic formula. We have to defend better, stop goals going in, and have to work even harder.

“We’ve tried everything. We’ve got another three or four who are going to be coming back, then we’ve got options, and can look at how we do things.

“But it’s no consolation to anybody at the minute.

United’s youth team saw off Accrington in the second round of the Youth Alliance Cup with a 5-2 win, as Patrick Brough (two), Greg Peel, Kyle Dempsey and Connor Thomson were all on target. Brad Staunch was sent off for dangerous play in the first half.

JColman@cngroup.co.uk

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