It was revealed earlier in the week that Preston loanee Ethan Walker is set to spend an extended period on the sidelines following a shoulder injury picked up during the Sunderland game last week.
Speaking about the unfortunate incident at his pre-match press conference, manager Chris Beech said: “It’s a pretty big blow. It’s hard work receiving news like that when all you want is to enjoy good days at work.
“I always seem to get a call about 30 mins after a game with some news, and it’s the type of news you normally get in this job, but you don’t want it to be three months. At most you want it to be three weeks.
“But it is what it is. He had it before at Preston, that we weren’t quite aware of, but when you’re young your ligaments, your bones, you’re growing.
“I was pretty frustrated with the incident at Sunderland. He was getting his arm yanked as he was getting away from a tackle and then bounced into a foot off the floor. That’s what caused this injury and he needs surgery.”
On how the player is feeling, he told us: “He was a bit disappointed with himself because he should have scored at Scunthorpe and that could have been a completely different day for us.
“He’s got good attributes - power, speed, he can take players on and he has an eye for goal. It’s vital he recovers well and does his rehab correctly.
“I’ve just had a look and Preston’s training ground looks absolutely superb. It’s the one they took off Wigan that used to be Bolton’s, the facilities they’ve got at Chorley and Euxton are different class. I’m sure he’ll serve that well and recover as quick as possible.”
“Any player getting injured is frustrating for everybody,” he continued. “Things like Ethan’s, I don’t know how you avoid that. It’s a competitive game and his shoulder has popped out, so it’s pretty unavoidable.
“Jack Armer’s dead leg in a practice game, unique his muscle actually split in a dead leg, that doesn’t normally happen. We’ve had Brennan Dickenson, hamstring, in an innocuous situation at Sunderland, and it was early in the game.
“It’s not like late, fatigue, it’s early. Omari Patrick, I protected him several times not playing him at Gateshead, and he’s telling me at half time at Oldham, ‘get me on gaffer’, and I didn’t do it in respect of making sure he was ready for Cambridge.
“It’s his other leg now, and I’m not too sure you could do anything about that. We have to train hard but balance it, the pitches are going to start getting heavy and it’s just one of those things.
“You can see in the performances the players are running harder, further, faster, you have to train at those levels to replicate it in games. It’s been such a different break of normality to not playing from March, bubble training in the early parts of pre-season, so maybe that has had an impact.”
The good news is that with the return to fitness of midfielder Dean Furman, and the return to Brunton Park of Josh Kayode and Marcus Dewhurst from international duty, it means that the ranks are swelled ahead of selection for this weekend’s game.
“I know it’s good for the lads when they go to play for their country, of course it is, but from a personal perspective, do we really need it?” he asked. “Do they really need it at their age, for U20s, U21s fixtures, is it really that important?
“But I suppose countries would argue is domestic football important. I think it is, it gives communities some things to look forward to and listen to and feel from you as media at weekends.
“The best thing about JJ going to Italy is he didn’t play. I would love him not to have gone, but there’s nothing we could do about it.
“Along with Marcus and JJ we have Dean. He trained last Friday, because of his personality and character, it was important he got changed to support the players at Port Vale in every way he does. On and off the pitch, he’s a fantastic person.
“It was probably more the physical risk to suggest after one day’s training he’s available. He was adamant he was, but I thought it was important to get him changed and be part of what we tried to do last week, which we did. He’s been good for us again all week.”
And the Blues have brushed off the injury situation to get themselves on a decent run of form.
“I’m very pleased about that, and obviously really pleased that the players have dealt with a little bit of pressure,” he said. “It was ironic really because I just wanted the players to relax, because that’s what they needed to do so that they would start to do what they do for me in training.
“I thought we played very well in the Fleetwood home fixture, and it was more really the gifts we gave away in the Oldham game that frustrated me. We were a lot more competitive at Cambridge, and our shot stats are ridiculous.
“We’re constantly high with that in every game. That’s been there all the way through, but what we’ve stopped doing now is giving complete gifts away. Long may that continue.
“There’s competition for places and we know that will get more intense as more players are available. It’ll give us an even more competitive environment and I’ll have a completely different headache to the ones I’m having now.
“That’s the kind of situation you want because it breeds even more competition. We’re not quite there yet in terms of their rehab, but we’ll see.
“I have no doubt working here at Carlisle that something else will pop up, because it generally does. That means your master plan is often nowhere near what you can end up going with.”
“Having said that, we recruit with structure and we look for players who will support the group and who will be able to help what we’re trying to do if they’re asked to play,” he added. “I wouldn’t say our strongest first eleven aren’t playing.
“The strongest eleven play, they’re the ones available at that point, and why they play is relevant to the team we’re playing against, and what we’re trying to achieve to support our community.
“It’s a squad. You could get very frustrated about those things, but we’ve recruited that personality and character within the squad to make sure when these things happen we can still try and adapt and progress.”
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