We spoke to returning midfielder Mike Jones ahead of training on Monday morning to get his thoughts on the big game against Doncaster tonight.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “Luckily for us, after what happened at the weekend, we’ve got a game straight away against the side at the top of the league, and there’s no better way to bounce back.
"Everyone will be glad there’s a game on Tuesday because otherwise you dwell on it all week. We have to try and brush it away as soon as we can and go for it against Doncaster."
Speaking about how the lads reacted at full time on Saturday evening, he said: "Words are said after a game like that which stay in the dressing room, whether that’s from the gaffer or between us all. People get told when they make mistakes, but that’s the way football is. People need to be brave and hold their hands up, but they also need to be strong enough to come in on the Monday and put things right.
"There’s no better opportunity to put things right than on a Tuesday night, in a game like this, and particularly if the fans stick with us. We’ve had some good times this year, we know we’re having a little wobble, but we need the fans to stick with us and we’ll go again."
"We’ve got a good dressing room," he continued. "That doesn’t change after one bad result. We just need to be brave and stick together. It goes without saying how disappointed we are and the fans will be gutted as well because it was a local derby.
"No one is more disappointed than the gaffer, the staff and the players, because we’re the ones out there getting embarrassed when we get beat by that score. The fans are the ones who come and pay their money and they will be disappointed, but it hurts us as well, and we’ll be going out on Tuesday to make sure we put it right.
“There probably isn’t a better game to have. If we go out and win tonight everyone will be buzzing again. We’ve got a great chance to go and do that."
The popular midfielder made his return from an ankle injury following an eight game absence for the away victory at Leyton Orient and he admitted that he's more than happy to be involved as the business end of the season looms large.
“I’m buzzing to be back,” he commented. “I feel good and strong, my ankle feels fine, so it was great to be back on the pitch and get some minutes under my belt. I’m looking forward to the Doncaster game and I want to make up for lost time now.
“No one likes being injured. If you do you’re in the wrong profession. I hate being injured, sometimes you get a big niggly and you can take it out on people at home, but I’ve been patient.
"I’ve done Dolly and Lee Fearn’s heads in so they’re probably glad to get rid of me. I don’t like doing running drills, where you don’t even have a ball, because I want to be out there with the lads playing football and winning games. Hopefully that’s what I’ll get back to."
“It was frustrating to be injured but I can’t really complain because I’ve been quite lucky through my career," he told us. "I’ve had a couple of ankle injuries but that’s about it. I haven’t missed too many games.
"When I do get injured I can’t beat myself up too much because I was only out for two months. You hear about lads getting injured for six months or a year, then coming back and getting injured again.
"I got through it, I knew I would be back soon enough, and that it was something which would heal fairly quickly. I made sure I worked hard because I wanted to come back as fit as I could. I feel ready to kick on for the final bit of the season now.
“I had 45 minutes against Burnley last week but it’s just a case of getting on with it. You can’t think about the injury when you’re out there, even though you can still feel it a little bit, which you do with ankles. You’ve just got to go out there and put it to the back of your mind."
“It’s nice to know the fans were itching for me to come back, but I just try to keep focussed on my job which is to give 100% every time I play for Carlisle United," he insisted. "I’m gutted I’ve been out but it’s been out of my hands. Hopefully the fans will be glad to see me back and I can do what I was doing before I was injured."
And on the battle to claim a promotion spot this season, he said: “We’ve still got a three point gap in third, even though we have had a little bad patch. There’s just over two months to go now so it’s time to put our foot down and put that behind us.
"If we can go on another little run we can create daylight to those play-off places again fairly quickly, with the Saturday-Tuesday games coming up, especially because we’re playing the teams around us.
"That’s up to us now and it’s about how much we want it. That’s what it comes down to in the last couple of months, who wants it the most and who can handle the pressure. I think we can.”
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