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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Carlisle Utd new boy Gary Borrowdale facing £10 million test

Greg Abbott will set Carlisle United’s new boy Gary Borrowdale the toughest possible test today – keeping quiet the most sought-after teenager in the English game.

Gary Borrowdale photo
Gary Borrowdale

Southampton wonderkid Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a reported £10 million target for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, will be out to enhance his rising reputation against the Blues.

The 17-year-old winger scored against United in the Saints’ 3-2 defeat at Brunton Park in November and recently won his first England Under-21 cap.

He was linked with a top-flight move in the transfer window but the St Mary’s outfit held on to their prized asset, with controversial chairman Nicola Cortese hitting out at the conduct of some of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Premier League suitors.

Now the talented youngster will bid to boost the free-scoring Saints’ promotion push – and it will be down to the Blues’ QPR loan left-back Borrowdale to stop him.

“Chamberlain is probably the most effective potential matchwinner in the division,” said Abbott.

“I drove down to watch Southampton when one of our games was postponed over the Christmas period and it wasn’t just me that came away impressed by him – a lot of Premier League scouts were impressed as well.

”Gary can’t believe it. He’s come in for two games and he’s had to mark Anthony Pilkington, who is probably the toughest in his position in the league, and now Chamberlain, who is the sharpest and brightest.

“But Gary is tried and tested at this level and he understands what is required.”

Abbott believes Carlisle can take heart from their home win over the Saints in the autumn as they try to inflict a shock defeat on Nigel Adkins’s fourth-placed side today.

“That game showed us that we are capable. We have to believe we can go to these places and win,” he said.

“Southampton will give will us a lot of respect because of what happened here.

“They are full of quality and it will be massively tough, but it is a great stadium, a fantastic pitch and we think we can go there and cause them some problems.”

Abbott, without injured skipper Paul Thirlwell (calf), could recall Tom Taiwo in midfield today with Rory Loy set to make his full league debut in attack against last season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final conquerors.

Adkins, whose side have scored four goals or more in a game seven times this season, could welcome back Adam Lallana after a knee injury.

Defender Radhi Jaidi is poised for a return at Dan Seaborne’s expense, with new signing Jonathan Forte hoping to make his debut.

Striker Rickie Lambert is aiming to score his 50th Southampton goal this afternoon on only his 92nd appearance.

The Saints are celebrating their 125th anniversary this weekend and are expecting a bumper crowd.

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