Mike: Cum­bri­ans’ de­sire will Raynes on Ever­ton pa­rade

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By Frank Smith

MICHAEL Raynes knows first­hand the dis­rup­tion caused by Storm Des­mond last month, and the Carlisle United de­fender is hop­ing to see his adopted city unite be­hind the Cum­bri­ans to­day.

When the se­vere weather hit the north-west, thou­sands of homes were dam­aged by flood­ing, in­clud­ing the 28year-old’s.

With his fam­ily based back in Manch­ester, Raynes had been liv­ing in club-owned lodg­ings with team-mates Joe Thomp­son, Ja­son Kennedy, Luke Joyce and Char­lie Wyke un­til the storm ar­rived.

In the eight weeks since, United have played three ‘home’ games else­where, in­clud­ing an FA Cup penalty shoot-out tri­umph over Yeovil at Black­pool’s Bloom­field Road.

That set up this af­ter­noon’s fourth round clash with Premier League Ever­ton and Raynes, pic­tured

right, is hop­ing the hosts can bring some much-needed cheer to the city.

“We have all been in B&Bs since the day of the floods,” he said. “The club ob­vi­ously took pri­or­ity in get­ting the sta­dium up to scratch but they have been great to us.

“As foot­ballers, we’re used to liv­ing out of a suit­case any­way! We are get­ting re­ally well looked af­ter so it has been fine, but for oth­ers it has com­pletely turned their lives around.

“All of the lads wanted to get out into the com­mu­nity to do what we can. It was re­ally strange be­cause you were in peo­ple’s houses which had been com­pletely turned up­side down and while we were help­ing to rip up car­pets and things like that, all they wanted to do was talk about foot­ball, which just shows how much Carlisle means to this com­mu­nity. “I don’t think many peo­ple will have wit­nessed that level of dev­as­ta­tion first hand and it was re­ally bad to see. Even now it has still not been cleared and the dam­age was mas­sive.

“Hope­fully this has brought ev­ery­one to­gether and we want to go out there on Sun­day and put a smile back on ev­ery­one’s faces.”

Last Satur­day’s 1-1 draw with York City saw United re­turn to Brun­ton Park for the first time and onto a newly-laid pitch, in front of their big­gest home fol­low­ing of the sea­son.

Now a sell-out crowd of more than 17,000 will wel­come Ever­ton – who nar­rowly missed out on book­ing their place in the Cap­i­tal One Cup fi­nal this week.

The Cum­bri­ans have al­ready shown they can hold their own with a Mersey­side gi­ant, af­ter al­most end­ing Liverpool’s Cap­i­tal One Cup pro­gres­sion at the third round stage in Septem­ber, tak­ing the Reds to penal­ties.

And Raynes is ex­cited to test him­self against the best once again.

He added: “Af­ter the game on Satur­day we were walk­ing back to our cars and you could see the peo­ple queu­ing for tick­ets.

“I have been get­ting phone calls all week and the ten­sion is start­ing to build now. I am re­ally ex­cited for it.

“I think I was two the last time they had around 17,000 in the ground.You don’t get full sta­di­ums in League Two very of­ten and you don’t get many chances in your ca­reer to play a Premier League team, so it will be a big oc­ca­sion.”

SUB­MERGED: Carlisle’s Brun­ton Park af­ter the re­cent Storm Des­mond

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