Nicky Adams on injury frustration, returning to the side and Carlisle Utd's League Two play-off bid

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Eyeing another promotion to add to his impressive CV, Carlisle United’s Nicky Adams might just be returning from injury in the nick of time.

The former Wales Under-21 international helped Northampton to storm to the League Two title last season, and the campaign before that, Adams also helped to guide Bury to League One promotion.

As things stand, current club Carlisle are set to miss out on the League Two play-offs this term, though.

But, after coming off the bench in Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to play-off rivals Stevenage for his first appearance this month following a hamstring injury, the midfielder might just be back in the nick of time.

Adams came on for James Bailey with the Cumbrians 1-0 down at Brunton Park, before Jabo Ibehre netted to earn them a point in the 1-1 draw.

“I have been a bit frustrated these last three or four weeks. I have done Dolly [physio Neil Dalton] and Lee Fearn’s head in, to be honest,” the midfielder admits.

“But they have been brilliant with me. They got me back a little bit earlier than we thought, so I can only thank them. It’s good to be out there.

“The fans were class as soon as I was coming on. They gave me a big cheer and I think they got behind us then. We shouldn’t have been 1-0 down.

“Everyone was frustrated because I thought we played really well. We looked back to our old self and then we got the equaliser. I think there was only going to be one team that were going to win it late on and we should have won it.”

While Adams was greeted by a roar from the home fans, he readily accepts it took him a few minutes to get back into his stride.

He says: “It was good to be out there again. In the first five minutes, I gave it away three times. I was a bit rusty.

“But, after that, I thought I was back in my stride and doing what I do best which is taking people on and putting crosses in. It’s really good to be back.”

Adams is certainly someone who could be regarded as a fans’ favourite.

“I could hear them when I was warming up. As soon as I came on, the roar was unbelievable, really,” Adams added on the backing from the Blues’ supporters.

“It put hairs on your neck. And then, the first three times I got it, I gave it away.

"I think everyone knows what I’m about anyway so I think, when I get the ball, there is always that little roar and anticipation that I’m going to do something.”

Despite battling back to earn a point, United dropped out of the League Two top seven with Blackpool edging ahead of them.

But Adams still believes, if the Blues take care of their own business, they can make the play-offs – and the midfielder would fancy Keith Curle’s men in a play-off situation, despite having only collected one win since February 18.

“I think the lads in there are frustrated. But we’re still in it – three games to go,” the one-time Leicester City player says.

“We’re out of it on goal difference. But anything can happen in these three games. I think you have seen they [Stevenage] are a good play-off side and we were far superior I thought.

“When we have everyone back and we’re at full-strength, I fancy us. But we have got to get in there.

“I think you could see with what was happening in other games. We were in it, we were out of it and Blackpool scored late on.

“But that could happen in the next three games, so we’re still in.

“They’re a massive three games and we will need them [the fans] right behind us like they have been all season.”

When asked if confidence was low at the moment, Adams replies: “No, I don’t think so.

“We had a bad run when we didn’t score in seven, [and] lost six of them. But I think, in three or four of them, we played very well.

“But it’s no good me saying that and us not winning games. I would rather play poorly and win. It has not happened like that but I think you have seen confidence come back slowly in the last few games.”

He adds: “But we have a good set of boys. We know we will be close. Hopefully, we will be the right side of that line and we can give the fans a really good end to the season. Hopefully, we will get that trip to Wembley because that’s what we all want.”

Adams is just one of United’s player to have returned from injury of late with Macaulay Gillesphey and Ibehre among those to have recently returned while Tom Miller and Jason Kennedy, two of the current absentees, still harbour ambitions of being involved in Carlisle’s end-of-season run-in.

But Adams also admitted the Blues have missed Mike Jones who was instrumental in the team’s early-season form but will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

“I think you have seen a lot of our team are back,” the midfield man says. “Hopefully, JK [Kennedy] will be back soon.

“Jonah [Jones] will be the only one who will be missing, really. He is a massive miss for us because he is such a good player. He does the simple things really well and he makes us tick.

“He goes unnoticed a lot of the time but he’s so important for us. I love playing with him but we have got to get on without him. Me and Sully [John O’Sullivan] have come on. I thought we looked really sharp when we came on.

“If everyone is fit, I think we could be in for a good end to the season.”

Adams also had praise for boss Curle.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t win [against Stevenage] but we are upbeat and the gaffer will have us on the pitch working hard,” he says.

“He will get us going because he has been great with us, as well. A lot of people think he might go mad and stuff but he hasn’t - he has been class with us. He has kept the team spirit alive.

“I think you have seen what he did with the funny clips, so that’s good. He has been brilliant all season and we’re all in it together.”

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