Q & A with Carlisle United
1) So, a quick summary of your season so far?
Our season so far has been dreadful. The team have not played to their standards this season. At the beginning we were tipped to finish in the play-offs for the third year running but that`s all changed. We're so close from the relegation zone it`s frightening. The defence has leaked goals this season and we weren't doing that last before. You can tell if you look at last year`s table that we finished 4th and with a plus goal difference and now we are 18th with minus 14 goal difference. A lot has changed this season and we have dramatically gone downhill. We are losing against teams like Hereford at home so really we deserve to be down there.
2) Do you believe the team have what it takes to stay up?
Out of all the teams down there I think we have the best squad and I certainly do think the team will stay in League One. It's a nervous time; we are one point away from the drop and we need to start winning games and it`s a hard run in with the likes of Oldham, Huddersfield and Millwall after Leicester, so it`s not going to be easy. I think we will stay up, but by the skin of our teeth.
3) From ever-present promotion hopefuls to relegation fodder, what's gone wrong?
I don`t really know to be honest. The main probably in my eyes is the defence. They are leaking too many goals and we weren`t doing that last season. We have not been scoring consistently as Danny Graham has got the majority of our goals, with 16. The second top scorer is only on five which is a big difference from 16 goals. I thought we would be fighting for a promotion place at the beginning of the season but we are not and have to cope with relegation. And as you say "What`s gone wrong?" I blame the defence and the lack of goals.
4) Are you happy with Greg Abbott in charge?
I would have preferred somebody like Boothroyd or Richard Money but we chose Abbott and personally I think he hasn`t done a bad job. As caretaker he did a brilliant job with 5 wins and 2 defeats which wasn`t bad for the situation the team was in. Even though we are down there I think he is capable of getting us out of this mess, but we need to win more consistently or maybe another managerial change might happen next season.
5) Which player should we be looking out for from your Carlisle side?
The main threat is of course Danny Graham. As I have mentioned he is our top scorer this season with 16 and there is probably more to come. He is a threat to the opposition defences and is good in the air, but we know it will be hard to get past the Leicester defence. Also look out for wingers Lewis Neal and Joe Anyinsah who can deliver a lethal cross or two.
6) And who should we be looking to exploit?
The defence is the place you should look to exploit. We have conceded too many goals, and with the likes of Fryatt, Howard and Dyer it will be hard for our defences to stop them. Fingers crossed that we can keep a clean sheet but I highly doubt it.
7) Which player in League One has impressed you most so far this season?
I can`t pick just one player. There have been so many good players in League One this season. There are about four players which I have been impressed with. Simon Cox is a great player for Swindon and has scored some tremendous goals. Matty Fryatt has scored some vital goals for you and has got crafty footwork. Gary Hooper has impressed me for Scunthorpe, he has been one of the best strikers in the league and I would love him at Carlisle. Lastly Troy Deeney of Walsall is one for the future.
8) What are your realistic hopes for the future?
We need to sign players at the end of the season if we stay up. I think we need to get this season over and done with and if we stay up I think we have a good chance of fighting for the play-offs next season. However if we go down I think we should get promoted from League Two and go back to League One straight away. It`s hard to say as we are in a difficult situation at the minute but realistically I think we will be in the Championship in three years time.
9) Finally, that all important match prediction?
Leicester are top, we are eighteenth and we lost at home to you earlier in the season so on Saturday I think the best we can hope for is a draw. But overall if I take everything into account I'd say Leicester City 1-0 Carlisle United.
Thanks to Vital Carlisle's GHCARLISLE for his responses.