In a season of struggle and recurring Carlisle United upheaval, it was not one of the more memorable loan moves.

Yet Lukas Jensen, who had a bit part in the turbulent 2021/22 campaign, will this week come back into contact with the Blues – in the opposition goal.

The man who played four games and only one league match for Carlisle that campaign sees his career on the up in League One through a fledgling spell with Lincoln City.

The big Dane has quickly established himself as first-choice in Mark Kennedy’s Imps side and, after playing in all their league and Carabao Cup games so far, will take on Carlisle at the LNER Stadium this weekend.

For 24-year-old Jensen they are welcome steps further away from the obscurity which was, to a fair degree, unfortunate during his truncated time at Brunton Park.

The keeper signed on the eve of the 21/22 campaign on loan from Burnley and looked set to provide solid competition for then-No1 Magnus Norman, who had stepped up after the summer departure of Paul Farman to Barrow.

Jensen’s first game, under Chris Beech, came in the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat at Sheffield United. The next two outings for the understudy came in the Papa John’s Trophy, one of which was a 3-3 draw with Hartlepool United accompanied by a shoot-out victory where Jensen saved two penalties, from Tyler Burey and Tom Crawford.

News and Star: Jensen saves a Hartlepool penalty in the Papa John's TrophyJensen saves a Hartlepool penalty in the Papa John's Trophy (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Then there was a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory against Everton’s Under-21s before what, in different circumstances, might have proved Jensen’s big chance.

Alas, circumstances conspired against the keeper in different ways. His league debut, against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, came as Norman missed out through injury.

Yet it proved a sadly pivotal day for team and club. United lost 3-0, their poor start to the season accelerating on a dismal October day, and it proved the end for head coach Beech, who was dismissed soon afterwards.

News and Star: Jensen is beaten by Harvey Saunders in United's 3-0 defeat at Bristol RoversJensen is beaten by Harvey Saunders in United's 3-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers

United’s descent into crisis also cost Jensen his chance. The need for better foundations led the Blues to bring in the experienced free agent Mark Howard, and he was immediately selected by caretaker boss Gavin Skelton for the next game, at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Carlisle were beaten 1-0, but Howard saved a penalty and offered the kind of general reassurance that would make him their No1 for the rest of the season.

Jensen went back to the bench – and then, a month later, he suffered a wrist injury which required surgery. Under Beech’s replacement Keith Millen, and subsequently Paul Simpson from February 2022, there was little prospect of a return to the forefront as United plummeted further before Simmo's resurrection.

Yet Jensen has made happier progress since. A 35-game loan at Accrington Stanley in League One last season was followed by this summer’s permanent switch to Sincil Bank, and that puts him this weekend in the line of fire of ex-team-mates such as Jon Mellish, Callum Guy, Jack Armer, Jordan Gibson, Corey Whelan and Taylor Charters, who all played in that fateful game at Bristol.

News and Star: Jensen had joined United from Burnley on loan at the start of the 2021/22 seasonJensen had joined United from Burnley on loan at the start of the 2021/22 season (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Skelton, now Simpson's assistant, admitted that Jensen’s time in Cumbria was cursed not particularly through his own making.

“To be fair, when he was here he was unlucky,” said the Blues coach. “It was just circumstance at the time and he was probably a casualty of the situation.

“We could see his qualities when he was here and I’m not surprised he’s starting to really develop his career. He’s done well.

“People don’t always appreciate what goes on – there are different opinions, different stuff all the time, and different reasons for things. He was just probably a victim of the situation of the time.”

Jensen, who was previously a mountain biker in his home nation, has certainly climbed well since that unmemorable Cumbrian spell. He has five clean sheets from eight outings for Kennedy’s Imps, and produced Carabao Cup shoot-out heroics in Lincoln’s recent tie at Sheffield United, earning them a crack at West Ham United.

News and Star: Jensen saves a penalty from Sheffield United's Beni Traore in Lincoln's recent Carabao Cup tieJensen saves a penalty from Sheffield United's Beni Traore in Lincoln's recent Carabao Cup tie (Image: PA)

Last time out in the league, meanwhile, he helped Lincoln to a 1-1 draw…at Bristol Rovers.

Kennedy, speaking upon the summer signing of Jensen, said: “He has the attributes that we look for in this position; he commands his penalty box, he’s an excellent shot stopper, is aerially dominant and will be a presence in our goal.”

Just the qualities Carlisle anticipated they were getting in 2021 – and, without the instability and misfortune that stalked much of that campaign, may have benefited from.

Instead, they are now Lincoln’s gain – and obstacles Carlisle must, on Saturday, try to overcome.