It’s been a topsy-turvy week for Carlisle, losing in the last minute to league leaders Cambridge then beating Crawley.

The Crawley result has kept the last month of the season alive. Realistically Carlisle can only be aiming for the final play-off spot. They’re six points off, and one of about half a dozen teams fighting for it.

As bad as it’s been since the turn of the year, there’s still a chance. Let’s grasp it.

We keep saying it, but a win tomorrow at second-bottom Southend would put us in a good position for a final push. That’s no gimme. Southend have improved. Then it’s home to mid-table Scunthorpe on Tuesday night; the kind of game Carlisle need to get something from if they’ve got play-off ambitions.

It’s often the team that comes into form late that goes all the way in the play-offs.

Although the result wasn’t there, the second half against Cambridge was a big improvement. It was good to see that carried on to Crawley, and that time the result was there. Carlisle got the game won early and didn’t let Crawley back into it.

Not taking anything away from Carlisle, but they were playing a team making a 700-mile round trip in midweek. In that situation we used to say, let’s hit them hard in the first 20 minutes. I think that’s what Carlisle did on Tuesday night. It did the trick.

Having said that, we’ve got the reverse at Southend. The way Chris Beech prepares will be a lot better than we used to. Now clubs often train somewhere on the way on Friday. We’d just get there on the Friday night and go for a walk on Saturday morning.

This column was written before England’s World Cup qualifier against Poland on Wednesday night. I watched the first two games: the 5-0 win over San Marino and the 2-0 win against Albania. England did what was expected.

I still think there’s more to come, as there’ll need to be to compete with the big guns at the Euros this summer and, hopefully, the World Cup next year. Gareth Southgate has got the players to do very well.

It’s quite a young squad. Phil Foden is one of the best young players I’ve seen for a long, long time. I haven’t really been excited by the qualifiers because supporters expect England to win those games. And friendlies don’t interest me at all. But it’s different at tournaments. That’s when the whole country gets going, as we saw at the last World Cup.

Plans to revamp the Champions League from 2024 look like being approved next month. They include space for two ‘wild cards’ who didn’t qualify through their league position but would be allowed in based on their past European success.

Based on the current Premier League table, Liverpool would qualify even if they finished seventh. I remember when the European Cup was a real champions’ league – only champions qualified for it. Now they’re saying, we want the teams who are the biggest draw. Even if they’ve had a bad season and haven’t earned the right to qualify.

They would love to see a closed shop for the biggest clubs, ideally without the likes of Leicester, who have earned the right to be there.