Carlisle United: Chris Chantler relishing first-team football

Carlisle defender Chris Chantler says he is relishing being back in first-team action, as his side face a tough League One relegation fight.

The 23-year-old's return to fitness and form after nine months out injured is one of the few positives in a difficult season for the 20th-placed Cumbrians.

"Fitness-wise and sharpness-wise it's getting easier every week," he said.

"To be playing three or four games in a row is brilliant after what I've been through."

We've had a fair few injuries and it's kind of weird I'm one of those staying fit, but hopefully I can keep playing until the end of the season

Chris Chantler

Chantler, man of the match in Saturday's 0-0 draw with fellow strugglers Stevenage, told BBC Radio Cumbria: "Personally, the last few months have been terrible. Even after I first came back it still wasn't great, and it's been a really tough time.

"But now I'm getting better every game, recovery is taking less and less time, and getting these games in is absolutely brilliant.

"Obviously we've had a fair few injuries and it's kind of weird I'm one of those staying fit, but hopefully I can keep playing until the end of the season."

Chantler's return has meant Carlisle have not missed experienced defender Matty Robson, also out with injury, as much as some supporters feared might be the case.

Injuries have been a huge problem for United this season, and manager Graham Kavanagh has already been forced to use more than 40 players.

"Robbo is vital to how we play, the way he drives forward and is solid defensively," said Chantler.

"So it's a compliment that people are saying we might not be missing him so much, but he can come back and play alongside me, like last year hopefully.