The wake of a 4-1 defeat might be an odd time to be building the case for a defender. But seasons like this do make it easier to separate the good from the bad; the characters you can depend on and those you would not trust to look after the house for five minutes.

Certain people stand taller than others in times of difficulty and where Carlisle United are concerned it is helpful to consider that, since referee Martin Coy blew his whistle to start their game at Stevenage on September 14, just one Blues outfield player has participated in every subsequent league minute.

It is all the more significant that it was the individual who made his debut that day, having not spent pre-season with the club, having been signed from first-team exile a month into the campaign, when other plans and players had not worked out.

Perhaps, given the many flaws elsewhere, it is time we talked a little more about Gethin Jones.

It is not just for the consistency of his performance – a steady six or seven out of 10 most weeks – or the versatility he has demonstrated across different defensive positions in a struggling team, or the determination that is a visible enough hallmark of his weekly play.

It is also for the way he has confronted a few assumptions about this Carlisle side. Much has been said about the contract lengths of many in the ranks, a perceived lack of commitment and connection between players and supporters ascribed to a “one-year deal mentality”.

How, then, do you explain Gethin Jones? His initial contract was not even five months’ long, yet he has been indispensable from minute one.

Another Jones, Mike, has given himself well to this hard season, playing in every league game and failing to complete only one. Adam Collin is proceeding towards an ever-present campaign in goal.

Those two experienced men, though, were Steven Pressley’s “stabilisers” from the summer. Jones, a younger man, was at that point out of the picture at Fleetwood and dipping into his mental reserves to ensure he would be ready when a new opportunity came.

In September, after that successful debut, he said: “I’ve kept myself in good shape – Stephen Crainey, the under-23s coach at Fleetwood, was really good with me and I was able to train with them every day until I left, and I was doing plenty of extra running.”

It may not sound like anything beyond what a responsible professional might do. But football long ago wrote the book on excuses, so Jones can at least be credited for retaining a tight control over his career prospects.

He did not arrive at Carlisle in need of “minutes”, and a long fitness run-up, before risking first-team involvement. He arrived ready, and as a result has been involved in practically all Carlisle’s engagements, only missing one EFL Trophy game so far (the lucky swine). One cannot draw every last conclusion from body language, but at least he seems passionately affronted any time the Blues concede, too.

Although it did not work out for Pressley, United must still be glad they found the necessary extra funds to cover his signing of Jones at a time they sorely needed sounder defensive heads.

A team will always need its dash of the unusual and the erratic. It is the price the Blues conceded they must pay for the volatile attributes of a Harry McKirdy, for instance, and it falls on such players to justify the attendant baggage. At the same time, a side need not get out of bed without its reliables, and someone like Gethin Jones is an important part of this blend.

The players worth the most – not financially, maybe, but in true team value – are those who produce wherever they are put, and do not have a bagful of reasons why it just hasn’t happened for the umpteenth time.

It was never going to be a smooth journey, as Wednesday’s thrashing reminded us. A certain dependability has, though, come with the 24-year-old Jones, an understated impact which did not require build-up, fanfare or so much social media gibberish.

In this cheapened age it is always reassuring to see such a pro sustain his career through his own conviction. In 2013, when Carlisle signed Sean O’Hanlon, the unattached defender had been keeping fit by training hard, on his own, in a park.

He was man-of-the-match on his debut, and a cornerstone of a survival push. You always felt happier seeing someone like that pulling on the blue shirt than others who, before and since, have pitched up either out of shape or with egos making promises that performances could not keep.

Jones has not needed to build bridges with fans or court instant approval. He has come in and he has played, and is that not a simple example to others – as well as an argument that, yes, length of deal is one thing, but perhaps not always everything, provided the person is built the right way?

A good way to check a player’s worth in periods like this is to ask whether you could picture him in better Carlisle sides or eras. Jones, this far in, passes the test, and United’s budget and squad considerations will surely make space for a contract extension soon.

In this latest month of mid-season rebuilding, the Blues could do with a few more like him