Tom Parkes is ready to defy scan results and make a rapid return to Carlisle United’s promotion push.

Boss Steven Pressley said centre-half Parkes and captain Danny Grainger are both expected to rejoin the squad to face play-off rivals Colchester this weekend.

Grainger is returning from a dead leg while Parkes could also be back despite initial fears a groin injury could keep him out for longer.

Pressley said the ex-Bristol Rovers man has shown a determined attitude to his short spell on the sidelines.

“I’ve worked with players in the past that, when a scan gives you an indication of the length of time you should be out, they want to work to the scan,” Pressley said.

“But not him [Parkes]. He’s the polar opposite. He wants to get fit, be on the pitch, and I think that although the scan probably suggested it might be several more weeks, in his own mind he’s desperate to come back.

“He’s been in all week, had a lot of treatment from Dolly [physio Neil Dalton], as has Danny, and he’s shown a brilliant mentality – the type of mentality I want at this club.”

Pressley said both defenders would travel to Essex provided they did not suffer any adverse reaction to Thursday’s training session.

The manager also hinted that striker Mark Cullen could be under consideration to start after he played for an hour in Tuesday’s reserve friendly at Oldham.

The Blackpool loan man has been restricted to sub appearances so far after his return from a leg injury.

Pressley said: “We certainly have to consider him. I don’t think he’s in a position where he can play a full 90 but he’s in a position that he can contribute.

“He’ll be a consideration for us, there’s no doubt about that.”