Carlisle United’s band of loyal supporters, one of England’s most-travelled sets of fans as they as they trek up and down the country from Cumbria to follow their team, have a nice juicy home fixture to savour when Premier League Tottenham Hotspur visit Brunton Park for a Capital One Cup third round tie on Wednesday evening.
Greg Abbott’s npower League 1 team have earned the glamour tie after knocking Championship team Ipswich Town out in the last round, but the manager is particularly pleased for the supporters. Abbott told football-league.co.uk: “Spurs at home is a dream tie for everybody concerned with Carlisle United, and it’s a great reward especially for the fans who travel thousands of miles every season to watch us.
“We had 951 fans at Coventry for our 2-1 win there on Saturday, and we even get hundreds following us when we play at places like Bournemouth and Colchester [both round trips of over 700 miles]. It will be lovely for those fans to be at a home match to watch a top draw Premier League team with some fantastic players on view.”
Carlisle will head into the game on the back of a five-match unbeaten League and Cup run while their opponents, after a slow start to the campaign, have won their last two top flight fixtures and will be looking to progress in a competition which they won for the fourth time in 2008 and were runners-up – for the third time – a year later.
The best League Cup effort by the Cumbrians came in 1969/70, when they reached the semi-finals, and 42 years later the expectation among most football followers is that they will exit this time round on Wednesday night. And Abbott, optimistic but pragmatic, said: “We are under no illusions about the task that we’re facing.
“Tottenham are a massive club with a great League Cup history and they’ll want to keep that going. They’ve got 25 to 30 top class players to choose from and I’m sure they’ll come here with a very strong team – they’ll see this competition as a route into Europe for next season and they’ll be taking this match very seriously.
“But we are really looking forward to the game, which in a sense is a bonus because in the last round we beat Ipswich in extra time after being a goal down with only a minute of normal time left. We got a great reward for that win and it could be the same if we beat Tottenham, so we’ll give it our best shot and hopefully go through.”