Hartlepool United’s Evan Horwood returns a better player

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EVAN Horwood returns to former club Carlisle United this evening warning: “I’m a much better player than I was last season”.

The 24-year-old defender was released by The Cumbrians in May after a two-and-a-half-year stint at Brunton Park.

Hometown club Hartlepool United moved to snap up the free agent in the summer and Horwood admits he hasn’t looked back since.

“I’ve improved a ridiculous amount this season,” Horwood said.

“I was a bit disappointed to leave Carlisle and I hope I get a decent reception tonight, but it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise really – I’m playing for the club I support and I’m living back in Hartlepool.

“Last season at Carlisle I was playing for a manager (Greg Abbott) who didn’t really like me but Mick (Wadsworth) has given me a lot of confidence.”

Tonight’s League One clash sees Horwood return to the club where he made 93 appearances, including a Wembley outing in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final when they were beaten by Southampton.

Carlisle face Brentford in the final of the same competition next month, The Bees beaten 3-0 at Victoria Park on Saturday.

And Horwood said: “They’re a decent team, when I was there we made the play-offs one season and then got to Wembley the next and they are there again this season.

“It’s a good set up there and it will be a tough game, but they have Wembley to come and hopefully we can catch them out like we did Brentford.

“They beat us earlier in the season (4-0 in September) and it would be nice to get one back for that, but it’s not a case of owing them one more just another chance to get towards the safety mark.”