Carlisle United favourites to reach play-offs

CARLISLE United manager Greg Abbott believes his side are now favourites to clinch sixth place and a League One play-off spot.

CARLISLE United manager Greg Abbott believes his side are now favourites to clinch sixth place and a League One play-off spot.

The Cumbrians round off their busy March programme today, as they face their eighth game of the month when promotion contenders Huddersfield Town visit Brunton Park.

Carlisle’s midweek win at MK Dons means they go into this afternoon’s match in sixth place in the table, three points clear of seventh-placed Stevenage.

And with eight more games to go, Abbott is confident his side can qualify for the play-offs for the first time in four years.

“It’s been a good week for us because the lads are obviously on a high following the win on Tuesday night,” said Abbott, whose side are now unbeaten in six games.

“We said that if we came through March unscathed then we’d be in a good position and it has turned into a really good month for us.

“It started badly with the defeat at Notts County but we have got ourselves onto a good run and we want to keep it going.

“We go into the end of season run-in feeling optimistic, and in many ways we are now the favourites to get that sixth spot.

“We’re comfortable with that and we’ll just keep trying as hard as we can to get the points we need.”

Huddersfield are fourth in the table, ten points ahead of Carlisle and only five points outside the automatic promotion places, and are currently unbeaten in eight.

Abbott said: “Huddersfield come here desperate for points because they are going for an automatic promotion spot.

“We’re also desperate for the win, but without the pressure they are under.

“They have structured their season on getting promoted and they certainly have a squad which is good enough to achieve it.

“They have their aims, but we have our own ambition and our dream and we need to take that forward this afternoon.

“We know we’re up against teams with bigger budgets and far more resources than we have, but we have hearts ten times the size of anybody else in my opinion, so we have a genuine chance.”

“You always find that teams who get on a run and have momentum are the ones who do well at this stage of the season and we fall into that category at the moment.

“We’re almost there, with three or four games to go we want to be alive and kicking and screaming.”

On-loan Sunderland striker Jordan Cook could be in line for a start after scoring both goals at MK Dons, and ex-Black Cats winger Andy Welsh could also come into contention after impressing in midweek.

And Paul Thirlwell could return after missing seven games with a calf problem.


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