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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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We are coping with pressure of play-offs fight, says Carlisle Utd boss

Manager Greg Abbott today insisted his Carlisle United players are proving they can cope with the pressure of holding on to their play-off place.

Greg Abbott photo
Greg Abbott

The Blues head for a massive showdown with top-six rivals MK Dons tomorrow having asserted their credentials with a valuable draw at Colchester.

United’s 1-1 draw in Essex, earned by James Berrett’s fine equaliser, saw Carlisle fend off the challengers to their place in the play-off zone.

And with nine games left to nail down their place in the end-of-season shake-up, boss Abbott says the Cumbrians are wearing the strains of the promotion battle lightly.

“I don’t think we need to be feeling any pressure,” he said. “The more stress we find, the harder it will be.

“The players didn’t seem to play with any stress at Colchester and that’s a good sign.

“It looks like they are handling the situation they are in at the minute.”

Midfielder Berrett’s eighth goal of the season earned United a third straight draw and a second successive point on the road – a welcome boost after recent thrashings at Brentford and Hartlepool.

It has enabled Carlisle to string a five-match unbeaten run together, keeping United a point above Stevenage and Notts County.

Tomorrow night could be a pivotal evening in the promotion race, with Stevenage hosting managerless Bournemouth while United make their rearranged trip to Milton Keynes.

Abbott added: “I think we have shown we are not just here to make the numbers up.

“We think we have a really serious chance of getting there, and Saturday was another game towards achieving that.

“It gave it some more credence.

“We are sitting here as a proud group at the minute and we hope we can see it right the way through.

“At Colchester we didn’t look like a team that has had a few heavy defeats on the road.

“It was a game that could have gone either way but we played very well after they scored and deservedly got the equaliser.”

Colchester’s former United boss John Ward said: “It was a really good game of football between two very good teams.

“I felt we just dropped off the pace after the goal.

“I found it a bit annoying that we invited Carlisle on.”

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