Sam Cosgrove is ‘forever grateful’ for his short but crucial spell at Carlisle United but is hoping to help Barnsley get back to winning ways there tonight.

The striker signed for Carlisle in 2017 aged 20, having considered retiring after being released by Wigan Athletic – applying for jobs in other industries as well as university.

He spent six months with the Cumbrians, playing ten games, before moving on to Aberdeen.

Cosgrove, 27, said: “It was very important. I am very grateful to everyone involved at the club. I managed to repay that with some money in transfer fees etc.

“It’s the first time I have been back since I left.

“It was a really tough point in my career. I had been released from Wigan and found myself without a club.

“Luckily Carlisle took a gamble on me. They gave me a short-term contract. Towards the end of that I got some games, did well and got a move. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me.”

Carlisle are now bottom of League One, 16 points from safety, while Barnsley are fifth after losing 5-1 at home to Lincoln on Saturday.

“They are fighting for their lives. There are no bad teams in this league, no easy games. We’re going there on a Tuesday night and we need to show a reaction.”

He added: “Everyone knows we’re going for automatic promotion. Before Saturday it was in our hands. We know teams above will drop points.”

On the 5-1 loss to Lincoln, Cosgrove said: “There was an air of complacency but we’re not perfect and the run of games we’ve been on was close to perfect.

“It was extremely disappointing.

“I don’t think anyone would have expected that. On the day we weren’t good enough and got heavily punished. Luckily we have a game in midweek which is probably the best thing for us.

“We’ve reacted well from poor results this season.”

Barnsley have conceded early goals regularly at home this season. Cosgrove said: “We have been trying to work on that since the start of the season.

“A quick fix or an obvious solution has just not popped up. For whatever reason it’s just not happening.”