By Tony Leighton
Carlisle United Manager Greg Abbott insists that he will not need to give a rousing team talk ahead of Tuesday evening's first leg of the Cumbrians' Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Section Final at home to Huddersfield Town.
Instead he reckons that the memory of last season's Final, in which his team lost 4-1 to Southampton, will be motivation enough for his players to work their socks off in a bid to clinch a return to Wembley and the chance to make amends.
The Cumbrians boss told football-league.co.uk: "Last year's Trophy Final was more than disappointing for us. The thrill of getting to Wembley was wiped out. It was a damp squib - we just didn't turn up.
"Now the lads want to go back and prove they can compete on the big stage, so it won't need any motivational speeches from me to get them up for what's going to be a massive task to get past Huddersfield."
Carlisle will probably be classed as underdogs against their promotion chasing npower League 1 rivals, though at the same stage last year they were fully expected to go out to Leeds United but went through.
The Cumbrians currently sit 12 places and 11 points behind the second in the table Terriers, but Abbott's team have three games in hand and head into Tuesday night's tie on the back of Saturday's convincing 4-0 League win against Bristol Rovers.
"We'd lost a bit of momentum," said Abbott, "but that was largely down to having so many matches called off because of the weather. We've now got games in hand on practically every team above us, so we've got the chance to move up the table.
"It's such a tight division though, and we probably typify it - we've beaten teams like Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday but lost to Walsall and Dagenham, and we're five points below the Play-Off places but also five points above the relegation zone.
"It's a crazy League, but we'll obviously be aiming to get the results we need from our games in hand to push ourselves up the table - and beating Huddersfield in the Trophy would certainly helped lift confidence back in the League.
"These are going to be two mighty tough Trophy games, though. Huddersfield are one of the big clubs in our League, they've spent big to bring in some terrific players and they're on an excellent run at the moment.
"They've won their last four games, although (Manager) Lee Clark has said they've been getting good results without great performances - so on Tuesday night I'll be happy if they come up with a good performance and we get the result!"
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