Ward goes on attack to restore Carlisle's momentum

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The Carlisle United manager John Ward has warned Leeds his side will not be coming to Elland Road to defend in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final today.

The Cumbrians must pick themselves up for the trip to Yorkshire after throwing away a golden opportunity to win automatic promotion in the final weeks of the season.

A month ago Ward's men were second and looked a decent bet to avoid the play-off lottery, but a dismal run of just two points from their last five games condemned them to fourth place.

However, Ward has vowed to attack Gary McAllister's side in front of an expected capacity crowd at Elland Road as Carlisle seek to return to the second tier for the first time since 1986.

"There have been nine goals between ourselves and Leeds already this season," Ward said yesterday. "We beat them 3-1 at Brunton Park and they beat us 3-2 at Elland Road.

"I'm not suggesting there is going to be that many goals over the two legs but we'll be going all out to win.

"It would be folly of me or Leeds to say, 'Let's be careful' when the players are thinking, 'We can go and win this'.

"I think they will be very open games and you've got to focus on your own attacking prowess.

"We can't go to Leeds for 90 minutes and hope they don't score. We'll push forward and see if we can find a goal."

The game looks set to be a sell-out after more than 38,000 watched Leeds' final league game of the campaign against Gillingham.

The Leeds midfielder Andrew Hughes believes such huge backing from a raucous Elland Road crowd could swing the tie in his side's favour.

"It takes your breath away when it is like that," said Hughes. "I was honoured to be on the pitch in front of those fans [against Gillingham)], but that is Leeds United football club. There's no experience like that.

"I've been at different clubs and experienced different fans, but you can't find the words to describe what it was like against Gillingham. We need to do them proud now and do it for ourselves."

But Ward insists Carlisle will not be overawed by the experience.

He said: "Elland Road was practically full when we went there last month and scored two goals against them, so we know we're capable of doing that."