United boss Chris Beech revealed that hard work was ongoing behind the scenes to bring Josh Kayode back into the fold following the injury he picked up during the first half of the Morecambe away game at the beginning of March.
“Our physio Ross Goodwin was in early on Friday morning to work with him, before we set off for Southend,” he explained. “He was in with Josh at 8am to do a one-on-one session.
“Fair play to Ross for that. He rang me at home, that’s the sort commitment I want from my players, he rang me on Thursday night to say he’d stay all day in Carlisle and travel after he’d worked with JJ to come to the game.
“But I wanted to make sure there were no hiccups for our actual match, so we decided to get JJ in early so that Ross could travel as normal. Fair play to Ross for the commitment to do that off his own back, it’s commendable.
“The good thing is that JJ is now running again. We’re hopeful he’ll be available, but I’ll have to wait and see.”
And speaking again about the stats being returned by the group after training sessions and games, he said: “We all know what it’s like when we got on our fitness kicks in the new year with our resolutions.
“We all think we can bike, swim, run, whatever. But it takes time to get to the point of feeling comfortable in that situation. I do believe our players are back up there, they are, the stats in the last two games tell me Covid’s left the building.
“They’re in rhythm now of training outside. We know we couldn’t really do that in January and February, and we’re back into that rhythm. Hopefully we can keep going, pushing hard, and we’ll see what happens.
“In the Cambridge game the stats were right back up, but we were slightly under the other day against Crawley. I think that was simply because we dominated the ball so much, so you don’t have to run after it as much.
“It’ll be interesting to see what we got at Southend. It’s a big, old-fashioned pitch, so it’ll be interesting to see what those physical stats tell us.”