John Sheridan believes Carlisle United midfielder Kelvin Etuhu is capable of being the best midfielder in League Two.

The manager lavished praise on the 30-year-old after his latest man-of-the-match display.

Etuhu was United's stand-out performer in their defeat to Tranmere as he continues his good start to the campaign.

And Sheridan believes the ex-Manchester City man has no equal at Carlisle's level when he is on song.

"That's how he needs to play all the time," Sheridan said of Etuhu's performance on Saturday.

"That’s what he's about.

"He's probably the best player in the division, when he's playing like that, at what he does - getting around people, starting play.

"I thought he was excellent."

Etuhu is enjoying the best run of games of his Blues career, after an injury-hit first campaign at Brunton Park.

The former Bury player is set to play a key role for United when he returns to Gigg Lane this weekend.

Sheridan will closely assess the fitness of Danny Grainger and another ex-Bury man in Mike Jones this week as they near a return from injury.

The United boss, though, suggested he would not rush the pair back unless they are in top condition.

"We'll just have to see how they come on," Sheridan said.

"Hopefully they'll train, if Dolly [physio Neil Dalton] feels they're fit they're going to be in and around it.

"They haven't played for a while so they're still going to be off match sharpness."

Sheridan, meanwhile, said he is not dwelling on the disappointment of United's defeat to Tranmere.

The 2-0 loss sent the Blues from fourth to 11th in League Two but they remain three points behind second place.

"We move on. I don’t want to dwell on it, or think about it," Sheridan said.

"I told the players I thought we played really well. There were some really good performances, and hopefully we take that performance into the next game against Bury.

"It's disappointing because the win would have probably put us in the top three, but it's not to be and we'll have lots of ups and downs.

"When you get beat and have played well, it encourages you, and you try and take the performance, if not the result, into the next game.

"The best way to pick the players up is to tell them they played really well, and hopefully they'll respond to that.

"It's so tight, the division, but we can just look after ourselves and that’s all I want to do.

"Unfortunately you've got to accept you're not going to win every game. But what I can take out of the game is that the performance will win you a lot of games. We played to a standard that I enjoyed watching."