Keith Millen reckons his change of system suited Joe Riley for Carlisle United.

The versatile midfielder bounced back from a nightmare showing against Port Vale by supplying the equaliser at Colchester.

It saw Riley deployed in a wing-back role rather than the full-back outing last Tuesday.

Riley was culpable for two goals in the midweek defeat but helped United salvage a 2-2 draw in Essex by setting up Tobi Sho-Silva’s late equaliser.

Asked if the 25-year-old would be in a better frame of mind as a result, Millen said: “Hopefully. He doesn’t need to be told what happened the last game.

“I did have a chat with him.

“I think playing wing-back freed him up a little bit more.

“That’s another reason why I don’t see us at the moment having a strong enough back four, purely by the players available.

“That will make him feel better. We have to get better at what we’re doing. That’s no doubt.”

Millen said Riley’s quality was apparent with his contribution for Sho-Silva’s 86th-minute header.

The manager said he had to “pick him up and protect him” after his part in the Port Vale loss.

Millen, meanwhile, selected Corey Whelan and fit-again Jon Mellish in midfield at Colchester.

The display often left Carlisle crying out for more creativity from central areas.

Millen explained why he had made the selection he did, rather than involving ball-players such as Jamie Devitt, who only came on late in the game.

He said: “My thinking at the start was, ‘Who’s the fittest to start the game?’, and because of the run we’ve been on, I wanted to make us feel we were more on the front foot, not to overplay and give them chances, which I felt we were better at [on Saturday].

“It was more a case of trying to pass forward, run forward, try and get a bit more pressure on the ball high up the pitch.

“That’s why I went with what I went with. And Jamie Devitt and a few others still aren’t match fit yet.

“You can probably get away with one you know is not gonna last. If you’ve got two, you’re struggling…you can pick up a couple of injuries and all of a sudden we’re out of subs.”