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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Older Carlisle Utd players must help youngsters, says Paul Thirlwell

Skipper Paul Thirlwell today called on Carlisle United’s old heads to help stop their younger team-mates suffering stage fright at Brunton Park.

Paul Thirlwell photo
Paul Thirlwell

The respected dressing-room leader believes the players have to shoulder responsibility for their terrible home form, which he admitted could be down to a crisis of confidence.

Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup loss to Bournemouth was their eighth home defeat of the campaign, and the seventh time they have conceded three goals or more in a game at Brunton Park this season. It is a sharp contrast to their away form, which has seen them collect wins at Yeovil, Walsall, Coventry and Hartlepool.

Thirlwell, whose side faces another difficult test at home to high-flying Sheffield United on Saturday, believes it is up to the players to stop the rot at Brunton Park.

The 33-year-old former Sunderland and Derby County midfielder reckons experienced pros like himself, Danny Livesey and JP McGovern must help their younger team-mates overcome any fear-factor of playing at home.

“The lads are devastated but there is no point in us being down about it as we are the only ones who can put it right,” said Thirlwell.

“We are paid to do a job here and at the minute, at home, we are not doing it as well as we should be.

“We have to stand up and be men and accept that. It’s not through lack of effort or not wanting to do it, but whether it is mental, we need to put it right.

“You look at the players we have here and they’re the same ones who had an outstanding season last season.

“It’s up to the likes of myself and other senior players like Danny, JP and others to help the young lads because they have never known anything like this before.

“If they have a rough spell, it is up to us to drag them through.

“It is not the end of the world but we need to do something about our home form and we need to do it fast.”

Saturday’s defeat, which drew a crowd of 2,980, including 430 travelling fans, left boss Greg Abbott facing more heavy criticism from supporters.

But Abbott’s respected dressing-room leader believes the players must shoulder the burden to turn round their dismal home form.

Thirwell said: “Certainly something is not happening here and we have to find the answers to that as players because it is nothing to do with preparation in fairness to the gaffer and Kav [assistant boss Graham Kavanagh].

“We prepared right all week and we knew what to expect from Bournemouth who are on a high and winning games.

“Playing away from home has been our saviour in terms of our points tally but we are finding it very difficult here.

“It is difficult to put your finger on the cause but we need to address it sooner rather than later.

“Working hard is all you can do. It is a tough one but it goes back to confidence. No one is going to change the situation apart from the 11 that gets sent out there. We have to go out on Saturday and give 100 per cent.”

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