The size of the task that faces United as they continue to aim for a play-off place has not been lost on manager Chris Beech, or his group of players, as they head into the final weeks of what has been a gruelling season with four games left to play and a five-point gap to close up.
And the Carlisle boss spoke on Tuesday night about the opportunity that has presented itself to the players, should they manage to defy the odds and see the job through.
“I told the players in the dressing room on Tuesday that the way they’ve worked hard for each other through so many tough things is commendable, but we now need somebody to come along,” the gaffer told us.
“There’s a great opportunity for somebody to come out of this as a bit of a hero. Anyone who steps up to get us over that line will be applauded. It’s definitely in there because we’ve put another good team on the back foot. It’s a bit hard to take sometimes is football when you do that, but you get nothing for it.
“We have four opportunities left and it’s absolutely there for somebody out of the squad who’s giving everything to become the man of the moment, and if they’re supported by everybody else it could be really special for all of us.”
And acknowledging the size of the job, he added: “I spoke to the players 11 games ago and we talked about the fact you need to break through 70 points if you want to be in the play-offs.
“That doesn’t change, and it hasn’t changed now. We have our four games left, we can still attain it, but we have to get the results right. Win four, win three and draw one, whatever it takes. We’ll be giving it our best shot.
“Our players have done that all season, in very harsh circumstances, and the way they’ve represented us has been excellent and commendable. But we work so hard, and I’m so ambitious, we all want to touch something. It’s still available so we’ve got to try our best to get in there.”
“That effort to help us to do it was there again against Bolton,” he said. “We had them on the back foot but they managed to hold on. You’re never going to get it all your own way in these situations.
“The target is the same, it’s just harder to do because we’ve got less opportunity to do it. But it’s still there. I haven’t given up yet, but we know right now that we have no room for any result type mistakes, even though we’ll see mistakes within games.
“We have to recover from setbacks within the four periods of 90 minutes we have left and try to get the points we need. If we can do that, and we will absolutely be going for it, we will possibly achieve it.”
And he also confirmed that it’s been a target that has been set ins tone from the moment the group kicked their first ball together.
“It’s been clear from day dot, really, of different things that can happen in a season,” he told us. “When we set everything out in pre-season to explain what was needed to hit certain targets, I had no idea that the coronavirus was coming and I didn’t know we’d have 10 games called off.
“But I did know I could get a bunch of lads really at it, and focused, which we have done, and it’s still attainable, it’s just that nothing is ever straightforward.
“I’m not giving in, the players are definitely not giving in. They’ll have to rest after that hard-fought game, but we’ll be ready for the next one on Saturday. It’s a tough challenge, but we’ll face it, as we’ve faced all of the challenges that have been thrown at us this season.”