PETER JACKSON is backing `unsung hero' Jon Worthington to mark his 50th League appearance against Carlisle tonight with another victorious performance.
The 20-year-old midfielder has been a driving force in Jackson's push for promotion and will be unleashed again as Town chase an 11th win in 13 matches to complete their best League run for 84 years.
Worthington could be watched by more than 1,000 travelling fans in the re-arranged fixture at Brunton Park (7.45), which holds the prize of second place in the Division III table if Town can collect all three points.
Jackson is hoping both skipper Efe Sodje (ankle and knee) and Tony Carss (hip) will be fit to take their places in an unchanged line-up including star loanees Pawel Abbott and Paul Rachubka.
The manager has warned his players against any form of complacency as they start a trio of matches against the bottom three clubs and he believes they are focused on scoring a sixth away win in seven trips.
"Carlisle will be tough and they are better now than when we played them earlier in the season, but with the youth, energy and commitment we've got in our side I know the lads can't wait to get cracking," said Jackson today.
"It's a great incentive to have the chance to go second and, if we win tonight, our promotion prospects are in our own hands.
"We are on an incredible run and we want to keep it going. Most of the big teams are out of the way now, but I've laid it on the line to the players that we can't afford to be complacent and they know what is needed between now and the end of the season to keep us up there.
"It's important we don't get carried away, but it's vital we don't throw away the hard work which has been put in by everybody at the club over the past six months by not doing the business over the next eight weeks."
While Abbott plays the penultimate match of his month-long loan - Jackson will speak with Preston tomorrow about the possibility of keeping him at the McAlpine - Worthington will be aiming to make the most of his first career landmark.
"It's a good milestone for Worthy, who has done excellently for us," said Jackson.
"He was injured and playing catch-up at the start of the season, but since he scored his first goal at Rochdale he has never looked back.
"As with all the lads, his workrate is exceptional and he has probably been the unsung hero of the team.
"The one thing he can improve on is his goalscoring record, but that will come because he gets in some great positions and he really is looking like a very good player at the moment."
Abbott will be up against his Deepdale clubmate Kelvin Langmead tonight. The teenager is on loan at Brunton and played as a sub in Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Torquay, which left Carlisle eight points adift at the bottom.
"Carlisle need to start winning fast to avoid the Conference, so we have to be ready for an incredibly hard game," added Jackson.
"If we play like we can, though, I'm confident of another good night for ourselves and for the fans."
Carlisle - (from): Glennon, Cowan, Andrews, Gray, Shelley, Simpson, Murphy, Billy, McGill, Preece, Farrell, Rundle, Langmead, Mcdonagh, Keen, Jack.
Town - (from): Rachubka, Holdsworth, Lloyd, Clarke, Sodje, Yates, Worthington, Schofield, Carss, Booth, Abbott, Senior, Newby, Mirfin, Edwards, Mattis, Fowler, Holland.
Referee - Colin Webster (Tyne and Wear).