Tag Archives: carlisle

Grant Holt commits future to Norwich

I'm staying put: Norwich striker Holt says he is not leaving Carrow Road

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:01 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 2 March 2013

Grant Holt has put an end to speculation over his future by committing himself to Norwich.

Rumours had been circulating that Holt was set for a move to Celtic after he bought a house in his hometown of Carlisle.

But the striker has denied any talk of a move away from Carrow Road.

Going nowhere: Grant Holt says he is staying at Norwich

Going nowhere: Grant Holt says he is staying at Norwich

He said: 'There’s been a lot of talk about me leaving but it’s all news to me. Yes, we’ve bought a house, but just for the schools.

'It means a lot of driving but I’m used to that.

'I signed a three-year contract last year and will see it through. I will stay for as long as the manager and club want me.'

Ian Harte calls Giovanni Trapattoni a clown

You clown! Harte slams Trapattoni after claiming Republic boss 'didn't know he was Irish'

and World Cup 2014 campaigns.

The former Leeds, Levante and Carlisle United left back, 35, who earned the last of his 63 Ireland caps in 2007, has not been considered for selection since Trapattoni took over from Steve Staunton five years ago.

In a question and answer session on Twitter, Harte tweeted: ‘To all the people asking if I have retired from international football.no I haven’t trap didn’t even know I was Irish #whataclown’.

'Clown': Trapattoni has come in for heavy criticism since Euro 2012

'Clown': Trapattoni has come in for heavy criticism since Euro 2012

Back to his best: Harte has impressed for Reading in the Premier League this season

Back to his best: Harte has impressed for Reading in the Premier League this season

Two years ago Harte claimed that
Ireland’s predominantly Italian back-room staff had admitted to one
Irish player that they were unaware Harte was an experienced
international who had played in the 2002 World Cup Finals under Mick
McCarthy.

Trapattoni later dismissed Harte’s criticism during the pre-match press conference on Tuesday night, saying: 'I know him and saw many games and two years ago he was old enough.

'We have Stephen Ward and we welcome back Greg Cunningham now just as we knew about Kevin Kilbane. We know this.

'I don’t answer him. Which manager thinks about Sammon, Hendrick Ask manager of Harte who these players are.'

Meanwhile, Derby striker Connor Sammon will make his debut against Poland tomorrow night.

The former Wigan forward, sold by Roberto Martinez in the summer, has been handed his first game for the Republic ahead of Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.

Sammon, called up by manager Trapattoni last week, has impressed in training in Dublin over the last two days.

He will partner West Bromwich Albion
striker Shane Long from the start in the Aviva Stadium. Captain Robbie
Keane has been left out of the World Cup warm-up game – Ireland face
Austria and Sweden next month – as he prepares for the new MLS season.

Trapattoni said: 'He is robust and
quick. The big man they are not generally so agile and sensible with the
ball. He can defend the ball very well up front and attack their
defence quickly.

Veteran: Harte has earned 63 caps for the Republic, scoring 12 goals

Veteran: Harte has earned 63 caps for the Republic, scoring 12 goals

Veteran: Harte has earned 63 caps for the Republic, scoring 12 goals

'He can also play. He is big and bold
and strong but usually such players are not so quick. I hope he can
continue because we have been impressed over the two days with us and
with his club.'

The Ireland manager has left out Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood after he failed to get a move out of Wearside during the January transfer window.

Millwall keeper David Forde, who has been a regular this season, takes his place and could now play his first competitive games next month. Veteran Shay Given will be available next month but Trapattoni looks set to ignore his availability for international matches.

Nick Harris: Well back player walk-offs over racism, says union chief Carlisle

We'll back player walk-offs over racism, says union chief Carlisle

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in the vanguard, they want to be seen as the pioneers of a new, clean era in cycling.

Some critics argue that Team Sky's 'no drugs' policy evidently failed in as much as it did not prevent past dopers from working with them.

Any confession by Armstrong could rest on whether he is guaranteed immunity from prosecution for perjury after lying in court cases in the past about his doping.

Demba Ba and Simon Mignolet among frontrunners for North East player of the year – Northern Exposure

Has Demba set the Ba highest or has Mignolet pulled out all the stops Player of the year crown up for grabs

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UPDATED:

16:26 GMT, 19 December 2012

The voting slips will go out for the North East player of 2012 this week.

And although anyone from Newcastle United, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool United, Carlisle United and even Darlington has a chance, there are of course a few leading candidates.

But only a few.

For the first half of the season, you could take your pick of the Newcastle squad, while there were a couple of worthy candidates at Sunderland. The second half is less clear cut. It hasn’t been a great six months.

Partners in time Newcastle strikers Demba Ba (left) and Papiss Cisse (right)

Partners in time Newcastle strikers Demba Ba (left) and Papiss Cisse (right)

Newcastle’s No 1 is Tim Krul and the young Dutchman has been arguably the most consistent performer for Alan Pardew at both ends of the Barclays Premier League.

Handed the opportunity, if not the actual shirt, by Pardew at the start of last season, Krul was simply outstanding behind a Newcastle back four which had to contend with the loss of Steven Taylor for most of 2012.

Not only has he proved himself an excellent shot-stopper when it counts, Krul has a real presence about him, and a confidence which is an absolute necessity in any top flight goalkeeper. He has kept Steve Harper out of the side, and has earned the right to be named Newcastle No 1 now.

And he has maintained it throughout the year. If it had not been for Krul, and, admittedly, some very un-world-class finishing, Manchester City would have been even more rampant last week but Krul, using his whole body, kept the champions at bay.

Sorely missed: Yohan Cabaye's injury has deprived Newcastle of a top midfielder

Sorely missed: Yohan Cabaye's injury has deprived Newcastle of a top midfielder

The current player of the year is Fabricio Coloccini, who has had another excellent year – or nine months at least.

Another man who makes his presence felt in the Newcastle side, as both centre-back and captain, the Argentina international was the undoubted leader of the team which finished fifth last season.

Very little got past him, but he has struggled on occasions this season, particularly when he has perhaps not been fully fit, and even dared to make a few mistakes. Perhaps he has been trying too hard. Taylor is suffering another long-term injury and has been missed over the last two months and at times Coloccini has been doing two players’ jobs. When he concentrates on one, there are not many better centre-backs in the Premier League.

Cheick Tiote is a replication of his skipper.

Another essential component of the Newcastle team, he was near faultless at times last season, and even his disciplinary problems, which are very much on-going, can be overlooked. He likes a tackle, he likes to win the ball and keep it and when he is suspended, he is sorely missed.

Tim Krul

Simon Mignolet

No 1's to watch: Tim Krul (left) and Sunderland's Simon Mignolet (right)

But like Coloccini, Tiote has not reached the standards he set when he first joined the club, never mind of last season. He has missed his tackles and given the ball away. Hit by injury that kept him out for the first two months, he has struggled to find his rhythm and exert his influence on matches for Newcastle. There were indications against Manchester City that he is getting back to his best.

Sadly Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa were both missing against City, and will be absent for the difficult Christmas period.

Cabaye is just a very good footballer, which he proved in his first English league season, and then in the European Championship finals for France. His injury was a real blow to Pardew and Newcastle.

He is very nearly the perfect midfielder because he can do just about everything, tackle, score, pass to keep possession or open a chasm in the opposition’s defence. No wonder Manchester United and Arsenal have been eyeing him with envy until his knee injury.

Hot and cold: Stephane Sessegnon has failed to hit the heights of last season

Hot and cold: Stephane Sessegnon has failed to hit the heights of last season

Ben Arfa meanwhile has the wow factor, as his brilliant goals against Blackburn and Bolton highlighted. Newcastle supporters, brought up on Waddle, Ginola and Robert, love him. He wins matches when he is at his best, and he has been at his best for most of the year.

And that brings us finally to Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse.

Alan Shearer raised questions about their partnership on Match of the Day and the former No 9 is not the first critic to notice that the pair don’t seem to be able actually to play together, score in the same games and show any sort of telepathy as a front pair. Pardew, for the moment, is reluctant to pick them in that role.

Fans have been asking quite openly if they even like each other – which was never an issue for Sheringham and Cole at Manchester United but has led to very different halves of the year in their case.

Cisse was on fire when he first signed, scoring an incredible 13 goals in 14 games. This season he has two in 15, and to go back to the City game again, he blasted his side’s best chance of an equaliser with a dreadful wild shot. It was an opportunity he took for fun last season, as his wonderful two goals at Chelsea demonstrated.

More from Colin Young…

Northern Exposure: Sunderland must see the light at the end of the tunnel and stick with O'Neill
11/12/12

Good news: Deadly Demba's scoring streak revives Newcastle… Bad news: That 7.5m release clause has the big boys circling (again)
04/12/12

Northern Exposure: Sunderland No 1 Mignolet needs to bounce back from his mistake
27/11/12

Northern Exposure: Peaceful Newcastle fans got raw deal from police in Bruges… now it's time to speak up
21/11/12

Northern Exposure: Why Newcastle could finally be tempted to make their move for old boy Carroll
13/11/12

Northern Exposure: Just how can O'Neill reverse Sunderland's fortunes
06/11/12

Northern Exposure: Wear-Tees derby may not be as mad as the big one but there's all to play for
29/10/12

Northern Exposure: Time to come up for air before next Newcastle v Sunderland battle
22/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Ba had scored 15 before his fellow Senegal international arrived, and added just one more after January. This season, he has certainly re-discovered his pre-Christmas touch, with 11 goals so far. Newcastle need him to stay, and to keep scoring.

If you could put Ba and Cisse together as one player, he’d win the award by a mile. Putting them together as a partnership is a priority for their manager.

Like Krul, Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet has seized his opportunity to be No 1 with two very safe hands.

The Belgium keeper, who like the Newcastle man faces stiff competition to be the regular first choice for his country, has had to be consistent to keep Keiren Westwood out of Martin O’Neill’s team.

And the fact his error against West Brom was the first he has really made since Westwood’s New Year’s Day illness speaks volumes for his consistency and performances. Historically, Sunderland supporters like their goalkeepers and Mignolet could be up there with the best over time.

He has certainly been O’Neill’s best performer over the 12 months, although others have had their moments.

James McClean was sensational in his first season but has inevitably found it tougher this campaign. Defenders know how to play against him and perseverance alone has not been enough. But O’Neill has preserved, confident he can hit the heights again.

He has done the same with Stephane Sessegnon whose form last season I put up with the best ever seen in a Sunderland player. There have been too many games this season when it’s hard to believe it is actually the same footballer. But like Ben Arfa, he wins and changes matches. Sunderland need the real Sessegnon to step up now.

It says something about Sunderland’s current woes that new signings Danny Rose and Steven Fletcher have been their best outfield players. Sadly for them, it won’t be enough to claim the coveted North East award whose roll-call includes Shearer, Quinn, Phillips, Given, Keegan, Beardsley, Juninho, Ferdinand and Allon.

Who is it going to be this year

Why Leon Osman deserves his chance for England

Little Leon deserves his big chance on the international stage

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 9 November 2012

Leon Osman's call up to the England squad may have come as a surprise but his place in the squad is deserved. A man whom David Moyes once described as being Everton’s heartbeat, he is a player with many gifts who has shown time and again that persistence gets its reward.

Tell us about what he can do

Osman is not like modern midfielders. He isn’t physically imposing and doesn’t have blistering pace but he is a gifted footballer with an excellent range of passing and, crucially, he chips in with goals – he scored 46 times for his club in 314 appearances. He also embraces the ethic of teamwork. When things are tough for Everton, he tends to come to the fore.

Doing it for the Blues: Leon Osman has been a key player for Everton for a number of seasons

Doing it for the Blues: Leon Osman has been a key player for Everton for a number of seasons

'He is gifted and determined,' said Everton captain Phil Neville. 'He is a team player who reads the game well and he is one of the best headers of the ball at the club, which people might not necessarily appreciate. It is fantastic new, well deserved and we are all delighted for him.'

So how why has taken so long for this call up

He suffered a career-threatening knee injury when he was 18 and it took him a long-time to get established under Moyes – he had loan spells at Carlisle and Derby.

Osman wasn’t ready for international football when Steve McLaren managed England but towards the latter end of Fabio Capello’s reign, he was certainly doing enough to get picked.

Pass master: Osman plays a key role in Everton's midfield

Pass master: Osman plays a key role in Everton's midfield

‘I felt at times that he might just miss out,’ said Everton manager Moyes. ‘But I think his form – and our form – this season has helped him. He has got a goal in him as well. It just goes to show that it is never too late and he has got his rewards. He has been a great player for me and for Everton and I am really pleased for the boy and his family.’

How did he cope with being overlooked

One of Osman’s greatest characteristics is being able to take everything in his stride and he has never let it get him down. Doing well for Everton has been his focus and any recognition that followed was seen as an added bonus

‘I’m an English player and an England fan,’ he said not so long ago. ‘Of course, I would be delighted if I ever got picked but it’s not happened and the most important thing is for me to concentrate on the job here.’

Sharp shooter: Osman is capable of scoring at important times

Sharp shooter: Osman is capable of scoring at important times

So how good has his form been good this season, then

He started superbly in the win over Manchester United on the opening weekend and was outstanding in the Merseyside derby, scoring the goal that dragged Everton back into the game, and his nimble footwork has dovetailed sweetly with Kevin Mirallas, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar.

Moyes once said that Osman – along with the similarly unheralded but equally important Tony Hibbert – had a job for life at Everton. If things go according to plan against Sweden next week, Osman – at the ripe old age of 31 – might now have a part-time role for his country, too.

‘His consistency over my time here has been exceptional,’ Moyes said. ‘He will take the ball and he will want to help England play. His football intelligence is as good as anyone I have ever worked with. He understands what you want him to do and he always gets on with it to the best of his ability. . It was a pleasure to tell everyone that Ossie had been called up for England.’

THE OTHER NEW BOYS

RYAN SHAWCROSS (STOKE) – Tough and no-nonsense defender, become hugely
important figure for Stoke. Still awaiting his big break after being
called into a couple of squads.

FRASER FORSTER (CELTIC) – Magnificent performance for Celtic in their
stunning victory over Barcelona had England coach Gary Neville singing
his praises on Sky on Wednesday night. Has kept 11 clean sheets in all
competitions this season.

STEVEN CAULKER (TOTTENHAM) – Has become a first choice for Andre
Villas-Boas this season and graduates to the senior ranks after some
superb displays for the Under-21s. Was magnificent in the controversial
1-0 win over Serbia in Krusevac last month.

JONJO SHELVEY (LIVERPOOL) – Well known to Hodgson after they arrived at
Liverpool at a similar time in 2010; had set his sights on being named
in this squad after winning his first cap in the victory over San Marino
as a substitute.

RAHEEM STERLING (LIVERPOOL) – Hodgson maintains the winger has been
called up for footballing reasons, rather to put him off playing for
Jamaica. Has been one of Liverpool’s top players this season, his
performances improving by the week.

John Terry to wear UEFA anti-racism armband in Chelsea v Shakhtar Donetsk

Band of brothers A week after accepting his abuse rap, Terry will be asked to pull on anti-racism armband in Chelsea return

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UPDATED:

10:10 GMT, 22 October 2012

Race row: Terry was given a four-game ban by the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Race row: Terry was given a four-game ban by the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

John Terry will be asked by UEFA to wear an anti-racism armband if he captains Chelsea against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.

It comes less than a week after Terry accepted his punishment for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

All club captains will be asked to wear a 'United Against Racism' armband as part of a week of action by European anti-discrimination body FARE.

Terry last week accepted a four-match
ban for racially abusing Ferdinand, but the suspension only
applies to domestic matches meaning he is eligible to play for Chelsea
in the Champions League, and he would be expected to skipper the side.

UEFA said in a statement: 'Every team
will be accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing “Unite Against
Racism” T-shirts and the captains will be asked to wear a “Unite Against
Racism” branded armband.'

The campaign will be promoted at 40
matches across the Champions League and Europa League this week, with
films broadcast on giant screens and special announcements made on
stadium loudspeakers to encourage fans to join UEFA in its call to unite
against racism in football.

Meanwhile, PFA chairman and Kick It
Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle has said Rio Ferdinand should not be
punished for his refusal to wear an anti-racism T-shirt.

Several
players, including the Manchester United defender and his brother
Anton, who plays for QPR, declined to wear the T-shirts supporting the
anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out while warming up for weekend
matches apparently unhappy with what they consider a lack of progress.

Getting shirty: Rio (above left) and Anton (below left) refused to wear 'Kick It Out' t-shirts at the weekend

Getting shirty: Rio (above left) and Anton (below left) refused to wear 'Kick It Out' t-shirts at the weekend

Getting shirty: Rio (above left) and Anton (below left) refused to wear 'Kick It Out' t-shirts at the weekend
Why is Terry wearing the armband

UEFA and FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) have teamed up this week to 'transmit the message that discrimination has no place in football'.

Champions League and Europa League games throughout the week will show a 30-second 'Respect TV' spot on giant screens, and special announcements will be made on the grounds' loudspeakers, encouraging fans to join UEFA in its call to unite against racism.

Every team will also be accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts, and (this is the important part) captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism branded armband.

Ferdinand's
decision brought strong criticism from United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson, who promised the player would be 'dealt with', and who had
previously criticised Jason Roberts' stated intention not to wear a Kick
It Out shirt.

Carlisle said: 'Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign and that's fantastic.

'But this should not be seen as player versus club or dissension from a player against their employer.

'This is about a group of players and some wider issues that transcend that relationship.

'We would not want to see Rio
Ferdinand punished. As I said of the handshake saga, you cannot coerce
any man against his will and to do so would be the complete opposite of
what the campaign is for.

Campaign: Terry is pictured wearing the same armband against Atletico Madrid in 2009

Campaign: Terry is pictured wearing the same armband against Atletico Madrid in 2009

'(Reading manager) Brian McDermott
and (Newcastle manager) Alan Pardew said they had good conversations
with their players to understand why (they did not wear the T-shirt) and
they respect them in that.

'Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out in his
own interview he did not know why Jason Roberts or any other player
would not want to wear the t-shirt, so I hope that conversation takes
place in the next couple of days.'

Anton Ferdinand was the victim of racial abuse from Terry in a league match last October.
The T-shirt campaign came days after ugly scenes in Serbia where Danny
Rose was sent off at the end of an England Under-21 match during which
he complained of racist abuse from the crowd.

Ringleader: Roberts (left) came up with the idea of snubbing the t-shirt campaign

Ringleader: Roberts (left) came up with the idea of snubbing the t-shirt campaign

And Northumbria Police said they were
investigating one report of racist abuse from a supporter during the
1-1 draw between Sunderland and Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on
Sunday.
Carlisle said he had spoken to a number of the players who chose not to wear the T-shirt, and had listened to their concerns.

'This is a group of players who are
trying to make a statement,' he said. 'This is not a problem with Kick
It Out per se, though they would like Kick It Out to be more vocal and
authoritative.

European date: the former England captain is set to start against Shakhtar

European date: the former England captain is set to start against Shakhtar

'But the main point they would like
to make is about the way governing bodies have approached issues over
the past 12-18 months, the way they have investigated them and the
expediency of those investigations, and how weak the sanctions were at
the end of them.

'This is not just the FA, it's UEFA
and FIFA and it ties in with other issues the players want their union
to address. This was their opportunity to make that stand.'

More to follow…

Northern Exposure: Alan Pardew and Greg Abbott are worlds apart… but dream is the same

Pardew and Abbott are worlds apart… but dream is the same

PUBLISHED:

11:30 GMT, 2 October 2012

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 2 October 2012

A lot can happen in eight seconds in football. So what can you achieve in eight years

Managers dream of the contract Alan
Pardew has just signed. It is Pardew's task to make the dreams of
Newcastle United fans come true.

And he has eight years. Eight years.

Big deal: Newcastle have handed eight-year contract to Alan Pardew

Big deal: Newcastle have handed eight-year contract to Alan Pardew

All managers like to claim some sort of autonomy when they take charge of a football club, but in reality those days are gone.

I had the privilege of visiting Carlisle United last week, spent a day with laughaholic Greg Abbott, as we did back in the days when he was Hull captain and part-time boss of Hunsworth Under 10s.

But there is a deadly serious side to his work too, and the daily financial difficulties he battles with Carlisle wouldn't function without his prudence. But his orders come from above.

It's the same for Pardew at Newcastle, as it was at Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton. Now he has longer to deal and play with it.

Chief scout and fellow eight-yearer Graham Carr's astonishing record in the European transfer market means that when he recommends a player, the entire game listens, never mind his manager and the board. The scouting network could not be more boxed off.

Training day: Carlisle manager Greg Abbott

Training day: Carlisle manager Greg Abbott

Slowly but decisively, Pardew eked out Chris Hughton's warriors, and quickly built his own team spirit, assuring through the immense leadership of Fabricio Coloccini, that his new players bought into it. Getting the ball to Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba helped, but Newcastle cruised to fifth last season and finished above Chelsea.

So hopes are high on Tyneside, although it is a difficult task replicating that success, never mind emulating it.

There weren't too many new signings in the summer, when fans were looking for splashing of cash from Mike Ashley, but Pardew and his bosses have emphasised the importance, and cost, of keeping their squad together.

The new campaign, with the additional European sideshow, has been dogged but far from dazzling. But by grinding out results now, they are building the foundations of more to come. Ba's goals have helped. This season is boxed off and being dealt with.

Now he can look elsewhere in the club, pinpointing youth development last week.

Carlisle training session on a pitch at the back of Brunton Parkin

Carlisle made about 50,000 from the 13,000 who turned up to watch Spurs last week. A full house at White Hart Lane would have earned them about five times that amount, maybe more. That was how much their peers at Stevenage, Crawley and Leyton Orient made from their away cup exploits last season.

No surprise that those three clubs have circulated that money in their wages department to make them serious contenders this season. Abbott meanwhile has to rely on freebies and recommendations from his contacts.

He said: 'I used to argue and haggle with agents but now if they start messing about with figures, I just say “that's what we can afford, so forget it' and we move on to the next target on the list.”

Carlisle have three or four good young players – and look out for keeper Mark Gillespie and lanky striker Mark Beck – and I asked Greg, if he had the money, would he invest in an academy first

He pointed over to the Brunton Park ground and said 'No. I'd love to but it has to be out there first. That's what matters.'

It's what matters at every club.

But with eight years at your disposal, a decent budget and owners looking to invest in the cream of North East talent, Pardew has at his disposal the opportunity to help build a club from the base, take a real hands-on approach to the youth system and really build his football club.

Cattermole must tackle reckless streak
Lee Cattermole of Sunderland

I sat down with Lee Cattermole (right) two weeks ago. And I believed him.

He said he wanted to cut out the daft lunging tackle which had cost him so many yellow cards, and reds. He knows the one, I didn't even have to mention it, and he had his own target. And I believed him. But when the red mist descends on poor old Lee in the heat of battle, he tends to forget the other 70-odd yellow cards which have been thrust in his direction in Sunderland colours.

He is an honest lad, a bullish, old-school, annoying-to-the-opposition, like Marmite, love him or hate him, pushy, demanding, infuriating, likeable, hard-working, daft, intelligent, English, kind of footballer, we don't see enough of them in the Premier League nowadays. We won't be see much of them. Sorry but it is a shame.

But he is Sunderland captain and while he is definitely maturing and growing into the role, his lack of discipline means he is out of the Wear-Tyne derby, following his red card at the end of the last one in which he'd earlier made an ugly mark.

And if Martin O'Neill is losing patience with him, which he undoubtedly and very publically is, then he is on the very precipice of a pretty long plank.

When we met, he had this observation on the captaincy. 'Listen I have never, ever worried about that,' he said. 'It is something you press guys have said since I was made captain and with everything I have ever done wrong.

'I don't want to name names but a lot of other lads get booked or sent off and no one says anything. But if it is Lee Cattermole it is a big issue and they say “he is losing the captaincy”.

'When I was made captain I thought I didn't need to change because I was captain for what I am but it is a bigger role than I thought at the time. There is so much more to it goes on behind the scenes . . . I am still learning but I do think I'm getting better.'

He's right on all those fronts. But unless he can learn to deliver his own promise to cut out the daft challenges and cards, he'll be handing it over to John O'Shea permanently.

And that would be a real shame for Cattermole, and Sunderland.

He might miss the Tyne version of the derby but Cattermole should be back for the game against his former club Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup later the same week.

You wait for one derby…

It's a shame Boro didn't get a completely level playing field with a home tie, but they have nothing to fear after their heroics in the FA Cup draw last season. O'Neill knows Tony Mowbray's side deserved to win that day.

And even more so than that side, this is a team closer to Mowbray's vision now, and moulded by him from the mess left by Gordon Strachan. They are in the Championship shake-up early on, but have yet to shake off the inconsistency which hindered them last season.

The one advantage of travelling to Sunderland is they can do so without a care in the world. They are not expected to win, Mowbray can name his strongest side, but also use it as a motivation for the rest of his squad. It was that freedom that gave them the edge last season and O'Neill knows that too.

The Sunderland manager barely tinkered with his team against Morecambe and MK Dons, demonstrating his serious intent in a competition he has enjoyed success, so Boro can expect the full force of his squad, and an eager full house at the Stadium of Light.

And whatever the outcome of the game against Newcastle, that will add extra spice.

A great week to look forward to up here, with the added bonus that the North East definitely has a representative in the quarter-finals.

Just don't ask me who it will be.

Andre Villas-Boas tells Spurs to attack Manchester United at Old Trafford

Ambitious AVB plans to storm Old Trafford by telling Spurs to attack Manchester United

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UPDATED:

18:03 GMT, 27 September 2012

Andre Villas-Boas will encourage his team to attack Manchester United on Saturday despite the Tottenham manager's harrowing experience at Old Trafford with Chelsea last term.

Villas-Boas suffered his first loss in English football at Old Trafford when his Chelsea side went down 3-1 to Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

Chelsea blew a number of chances in the first half and they paid the price by going down 3-0 at half-time before Fernando Torres missed an open goal after the break.

Preparations: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas (centre) takes training on Thursday

Preparations: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas (centre) takes training on Thursday

Eye on the ball: Jermain Defoe in training

Eye on the ball: Jermain Defoe in training

Such a collapse could discourage a
manager from instructing his team to go on the offensive there again,
but Villas-Boas is in a confident mood having won over a large part of
the Spurs support by recording three wins in four matches.

'That is the way I like my teams to play,' Villas-Boas said. 'We
obviously know that it is extremely difficult there, but that doesn't
mean that you might not be given a chance when you play that (attacking)
way.

'In the end it's
about taking your opportunities. Had (Chelsea) scored then maybe the
result would have been different, so to try to get a result against
United will be excellent for us.'

The
Capital One Cup victory in Carlisle may not end up being Villas-Boas'
biggest accomplishment during his time at White Hart Lane, but it did
ensure Spurs maintained the momentum that they have gathered in the last
two weeks.

From being booed off against Norwich and West Brom, Spurs have picked up wins against Reading and QPR while they were very unlucky not to beat Lazio in the Europa League last week.

There is still plenty of work to be done with the squad, but Villas-Boas is so confident about his team's improvement that he has his sights set on nearing the top of the Barclays Premier League table by winning at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.

Thumbs up: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon looks positive during the warm-up at Spurs Lodge

Thumbs up: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon looks positive during the warm-up at Spurs Lodge

'It would make us very proud to go there and get a win that would shorten the distance to the top,' Villas-Boas said.

'That would hopefully help us profit in some way from the clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.

'We can't run away from our responsibilities. The statistics are there.

'We hope to break them one day and hopefully it will be on Saturday.'

The
game against npower League One opposition gave Villas-Boas the
opportunity to blood some of the youngsters that were often overlooked
by his predecessor.

Andros Townsend, 21, was the most impressive of the new crop on show at Brunton Park. The
winger, who was on loan at Leeds and Birmingham last season, ran half
the length of the pitch before scoring his third goal for the club.

Villas-Boas,
who has brought Townsend off the bench three times this season, was
delighted with the England Under 21 player's performance in Cumbria.

'In
the last couple of games that he has played he has made quite the
difference in terms of his contribution to the team,' Villas-Boas said.

'Obviously
he is competing against the best players in the world with Gareth Bale,
Aaron Lennon and Clint Dempsey so it's difficult, but if a player so
young like this triumphs over players of this dimension then the future
is his.'

Ryan Mason and Adam Smith also started the game at Carlisle, and Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen was impressed with what he saw.

'The guys who played are real quality players, very skilful and with a good mentality,” said Vertonghen, who signed from Ajax in the summer.

'I think that Ajax, for young players, is one of the best clubs in the world at which to develop, so I know good young players and we have them here at Tottenham.

'What I have seen here makes me think that all these players can eventually play for the first team.'

Carlisle v Tottenham: Greg Abbott Exclusive

Greg Abbott Exclusive: Hot seat Tottenham will be lucky if they get hot water!

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

Greg Abbott points to the Brunton Park away dug-out where Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, his staff and subs will sit on Wednesday night.

'I must remember to switch on the heated seats,' he says. Of course there are no heated seats at Carlisle United. Just 15 plastic seats, possibly borrowed from a local school, nailed to the wall and floor, covered by a concrete bunker.

The pitch is immaculate, one of the best in the country, certain to survive the deluge which has hit Cumbria and suited to Tottenham's passing. But there's not much else to Brunton Park, as the Spurs millionaires will discover.

Warming the bench: Carlisle will host Tottenham in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night

Warming the bench: Carlisle will host Tottenham in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night

'It doesn't have all the joys and comforts of White Hart Lane,' says Abbott. 'It's pretty basic. When Huddersfield came a couple of years ago their coach Derek Fazackerley got very upset because there was no hot water.

'He came charging into our dressing room after they'd lost, ranting and raving – which is very brave for the opposition – demanding hot water. There was some in the shower in my office, but you can't guarantee it up here in November. We' ve had a laugh about it since. 'But I can assure you we will have hot running water for the Spurs lads. I think… '

A home tie may present Carlisle with their best chance of pulling off a League Cup shock over the four times winners, but Abbott and his club might have preferred a tie in North London.

Change of scenery: The Premier League giants will make the trip to League One side Carlisle

Change of scenery: The Premier League giants will make the trip to League One side Carlisle

They hope to make approximately 50,000, but an away tie could have been seven times that amount, enough to keep this club afloat for three years and give Abbott some rare spending money. His entire squad cost 60,000, the amount he paid Bohemians for striker Paddy Madden who is now struggling to cement a place in the side.

He has been overtaken by Mark Beck and David Symington, two 18-year-olds from the School of Excellence on 150-a-week who both scored their first senior goals in their third games to knock Ipswich out of the last round. Keeper Mark Gillespie, rejected by Newcastle at 16, is the youngest in the Football League.

Abbott said: 'They've given the whole city and club a lift. This club discovered the likes of Matt Jansen, Rory Delap, Leon Osman. But it takes times and money and our youth coach Eric Kinder has done brilliantly.

Keeping up appearances: Mark Gillespie, rejected by Newcastle at 16, is the youngest in the Football League

Keeping up appearances: Mark Gillespie, rejected by Newcastle at 16, is the youngest in the Football League

'We'd love to have an academy but the most important thing is what happens on that pitch now. That's the reality.'

At three years and 328 days, former Bradford and Hull midfielder Abbott is the ninth longest serving manager in the English league. He is No 1 in League One's chart, leading Leyton Orient's Russell Slade by more than 18 months.

'I've always been at this level but it's madness,' he says. 'You spend your time avoiding traffic and eventually something gets you.

In training: The League One outfit would have made a small fortune if the tie had been at White Hart Lane

In training: The League One outfit would have made a small fortune if the tie had been at White Hart Lane

'You really have to survive your first year. This country has the biggest fall-out of first-time managers. We have lost too many good young coaches which can't be good for the British game.

'This is my first job and the brutal reality is I will either get the sack or go to a better job. And I've told the chairman that.'

He has worked in the top flight, starting his coaching career at Leeds United's academy in the late 90s.

'The first day I went down for lunch, there was so much smoked salmon, steaks, king prawns, seven inch-long langoustines, I asked David O'Leary and Eddie Gray who was getting married.'

Cash flow: The entire Carlisle squad cost a mere 60,000

Cash flow: The entire Carlisle squad cost a mere 60,000

'He rang me on a private number, and said “Greg. It's Alex.” I said “Alex who” “Sir Alex,” he said.

It's rather different to lunch now. Abbott has installed a toastie maker and is head chef.

'The
laundry lady Emma had to put a chair in the room because she said I'm a
great cook but a very messy one. It's usually ham, cheese and onion and
if we're feeling healthy we have tomatoes. So we don't have tomatoes
very often.'

League One clubs like Carlisle still have to compete with the Premier League for different reasons. Carlisle's home attendance fell by 1,500 within four days last week when fans had a choice between a Tuesday night home match with Crewe or the televised Real Madrid v Manchester City Champions League clash.

'Which would you choose' he admitted. 'Nights like that cripple us financially and it's tough.'

Net gains: But Abbott is unhappy with his side's sluggish start to the season

Net gains: But Abbott is unhappy with his side's sluggish start to the season

This week started with a gym session with his players and a new fitness coach, a sports science student from Bolton University, hired for virtually nothing to help with his studies.

'Our MD John Nixon was delighted,' Abbott said. 'He told me I could get two at that price.'

Physio Neil Dalton is also in the small, sweaty room, but spends most of his time trying to fix a`sled', the new piece of training equipment which players have to drag across the floor, after locating the club's only tool kit.

Abbott and his assistant Graham Kavanagh, the former Ireland international, then move to the pitches behind the ground, next to the River Eden which bursts its banks three years ago, flooding the pitches. Funds were found to rebuild and protect them.

Paperwork: The Carlisle boss is preparing his side for the visit of Tottenham

Paperwork: The Carlisle boss is preparing his side for the visit of Tottenham

Football League blog

Abbott is unhappy with the sluggish start. He is renowned for enjoying a laugh but growls from the centre circle, then paces the sidelines. His humour is well-known. Just ask Roberto Mancini, fellow award winner at a Manchester dinner last year and neighbour on the top table.

Abbott, recently overlooked for a return to Hull and home-town Coventry, said: 'We'd won the Johnstone Paints Trophy and I got talking to Roberto. I've built up a good relationship with David Platt – he told me to sign Chris Chantler from City who has been terrific for us – and we had a good chat. I'd had a couple of pints so I was talking Italian, I think.

'When it was my turn to get up for our award, I turned to Roberto and said “not being funny Roberto but with Tevez and 120million I could win the FA Cup. You want to try win the Johnstone Paints and get out of League One with Danny Livesey and one point boss-all”. He loved it. When I sat back down he shook my hand and said “hey, I love Livesey!”

Sir Alex Ferguson was an award winner that night too and Abbott is on the Christmas card list thanks to his treatment of several young United players on loan.

'He rang me on a Sunday night, private number, and said “Greg. It's Alex.” I said “Alex who” “Sir Alex,” he said. I was suddenly sweating, pacing the house as he thanked us for how we'd looked after James Chester.

'He said “it's up to you if you play him tomorrow but we are selling James to Hull the following day so you might not want to play him.” So I said “you're basically saying you don't want me to play him then.” Sir Alex said “you're going to go a long way in management, son because you learn very quickly.”

'I know we can ring United and ask about a player if we need one because they know they will be treated properly here and they will play games. That relationship means the world to me.'

He would love to put out a side tonight including just some of the names he has had to sell – Kieren Westwood, Ian Harte, Danny Graham, Adam Clayton, Gary Madine – but he is more than content with his lot.

He said: 'If I could put out that side we'd win this division by March and get where we want to be in the Championship.

'But we are proud to see those lads in the Premier League and it means we have survived. We are not swimming in money, of course we'd like more, but we are not in desperate trouble.

'We're still at the right end of the division, still improving year on year and hopefully one day we'll get there.'

Lloris left out again! AVB wants to give Cudicini and Gomes game time in Capital One Cup

Lloris left out again! AVB wants to give Cudicini and Gomes game time in Capital One Cup

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

Hugo Lloris faces more frustration at Tottenham as Andre Villas-Boas plans to leave him out of the Capital One Cup game at Carlisle.

Villas-Boas sees the third-round tie as a good opportunity to involve Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes, who have not featured this season.

Lloris has played only once — last week’s Europa League match against Lazio — and would have been hoping to start.

Waiting game: Lloris

Waiting game: Lloris

Villas-Boas is expected to rest several players ahead of the trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto has seen a second knee specialist in the hope of avoiding surgery to clear up a problem which has seen him miss the last three games.

Jake Livermore has had a hernia operation and will be out for another three weeks.