Captain Danny Grainger believes managerless Carlisle United’s win over Mansfield was important for the club and their supporters.

Grainger, nominated for the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award, has led the Blues on a six-game winning run - their best sequence in the league since 2008.

United moved up to fifth in the League Two table on Saturday as they ended Mansfield’s 17-game unbeaten run despite Chesterfield-bound John Sheridan’s resignation on Friday.

With Tommy Wright and Paul Murray in caretaker charge, a brace from Hallam Hope and a Jack Sowerby effort earned Carlisle a 3-2 success at Brunton Park.

While Grainger admitted being informed of boss Sheridan’s departure the day before the match could have “been an excuse” for a poor performance, the 32-year-old Cumbrian was thrilled with his side’s performance.

"Managers come and go, players come and go, but the main thing is we go out there and represent the club in the right way,” Grainger said.

"Every player did that fantastically on Saturday. Obviously, finding out after training on Friday that the manager has decided to leave, could have been an excuse for us. 

"But I think the lads handled themselves fantastically and represented themselves, the club and the fans in the way they deserve.”

Sheridan’s future first came under the microscope on Boxing Day as, following some heated exchanged with players, including Grainger, Sheridan used a post-match interview to threaten to quit if people could not cope with his “demanding” style after a 6-0 win against Oldham.

But Grainger said he accepted the incident was something that happens in football.

He said: “It’s part and parcel of the game.

"There’s never been any physical things that went on between me and the manager.

"There’s times where we have had disagreements, but it’s part and parcel of football, and I’ve had it throughout my career.

"I’ve had managers throw me against the wall, it’s just part and parcel of it, and you get on with it.

"I know people are talking about Boxing Day but we have won three out of three since Boxing Day, so it can’t have affected us that much.”

Grainger, though, accepted him and the other senior players in United’s dressing room may need to help some of their more inexperienced team-mates through the speculation surrounding who will be Sheridan’s long-term successor.

“It’s a difficult one for younger players who maybe haven’t experienced it as much as older lads,” he admitted.

“But with the confidence we have, I think it’s more about getting on the football pitch and enjoying the football.”

This Saturday, Carlisle travel to Northampton where they will face former boss Keith Curle.

By then Grainger could have secured individual recognition after he was named on the four-man shortlist for the SkyBet League Two player of the month prize for December.

The Cumbrian is up against Lincoln striker John Akinde, Oldham frontman Chris O’Grady and Forest Green midfielder George Williams.

The judges’ citation on Grainger says: “Teo clean sheets, three goals and an assist were the sizeable contributions at both ends of the pitch in four games of Carlisle’s local hero. The 32-year-old scored with typical power from free-kicks against Colchester and Oldham.”

Former United loan man Jerry Yates - wanted for a return by the Blues - did not make the shortlist despite scoring five goals in five league games in December.

Nor did former boss John Sheridan make the manager shortlist despite United’s superb December run. Those nominated were Grimsby’s Michael Jolley, Forest Green’s Mark Cooper, Lincoln’s Danny Cowley and Mansfield’s David Flitcroft.