Graham Kavanagh comes out fighting at Carlisle United

Carlisle will be relegated if they lose at Crawley tonight, but manager Graham Kavanagh insists he will not resign despite the wrath of the fans

Graham Kavanagh insists he will not resign as Carlisle United manager as the Cumbrians prepare for tonight’s do-or-die game at Crawley Town.

Carlisle’s catastrophic 1-0 home defeat against Oldham Athletic at the weekend left them four points adrift of safety with two games to go.

And if they lose at the Broadfield Stadium this evening, their eight-year stay in League One will come to an end.

Kavanagh was booed by the fans at Brunton Park at the weekend, with the club’s board also coming under fire.

Yet Kavanagh insists that, whatever happens, he wants to stay on and try to put the club back on the right track.

Questioned about his situation, Kavanagh said: “Do you think I’m sitting here thinking I’m going to walk away?

“Have I said I’m going to resign?

“By the way and manner that I’m answering the questions, do you not think that’s enough of an answer for you?”

Kavanagh accepts that results and performances have been well below par this season, but insists he will not make excuses.

He said: “No matter how I answer that it looks like I’m placing blame on others, which I’m not going to do.

“I’m manager of the football club and if we go down, I’ll take full responsibility.

“If anyone wants to make a decision after that and put blame my way, fine.”

Assuming Carlisle avoid defeat at Crawley, a draw would give them only an outside chance of staying up on goal difference – and, even then, they would need to win at champions Wolverhampton on the final day of the season, and hope other results went in their favour.

Realistically, only back-to-back wins would give Carlisle a genuine chance of avoiding relegation to League Two.

Crawley’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford City on Saturday means they go into tonight’s game in 14th place, with the Bantams having leapfrogged them.

But they will move up two places if they relegate Carlisle this evening.

Manager John Gregory said: “We need to finish the season strongly and, believe me, I will make sure our players are fully motivated tonight.

“We were disappointing on Saturday and we need to pick it up again.”

Carlisle will be without Gary Madine due to curfew restrictions, while Nacho Novo is a doubt with a hamstring problem picked up at the weekend.

Sean O’Hanlon (groin), Reece Brown (groin), Liam Noble (calf) and James Berrett (groin) played against Oldham despite not being fully-fit, and may be asked to do so once again.


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