EVEN in the event of defeat tonight, Carlisle United will have won.
The Cumbrians host Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup, with 11,000 tickets sold and up to 13,500 expected at Brunton Park.
Though negligible in the context of the £53 million Spurs spent this summer, that means money in the bank.
And Blues boss Greg Abbott has revealed that forecasting as much following the third round draw was critical in enabling him to afford to bring Joe Garner and Kallum Higginbotham to the club, on loan from Watford and Huddersfield Town respectively.
“The revenue side is important,” Abbott said. “I’ve moaned long and hard enough and maybe John Nixon will be happy we’re getting a few quid in the bank.
“It’s a little bit easier to get some out of him when I go and ask for some more!
“With Joe and Kallum, they’ve supported everything we’re doing, which is great.
“I think that was mainly due to them having one eye on the income from this game, so it’s been massive for us.
“We keep banging the drum and if the money comes in, we’ll be allowed to invest some of it.
“Joe and Kallum have been an expensive investment for the period they’re here but the club have done it and maybe the cup run has paid for that.”
Abbott added: “We’re up to about 11,000 already – it’s bad enough sometimes with 5,000. You get 7,000 or 8,000 in and it’s a fantastic atmosphere, and we’ll definitely get a boost from that.
“We want to see the ground full more often, that’s another dream for us all. It’s going to be pretty packed, so let’s hope there’s a show for them.” The game has caught the imagination of club and city alike, and – Abbott joked – had a curiously positive affect in Carlisle’s treatment room.
“We haven’t got any injuries, funnily enough,” he laughed. “It’s amazing isn’t it? Even Lee Miller thinks he’s fit! But you tend to find these type of occasions gets everybody off the treatment table.
“So there’ll be a full dressing room tomorrow.”
And in Andre Villas-Boas’?
“As much as I don’t know their squad,” Abbott said, “he won’t have a flipping clue about mine!”