New Year, new…what, exactly? Carlisle United are a club in limbo, on and off the pitch, and where 2018 is concerned the biggest hope is that they finally find some certainty.

A general direction that supporters can believe in must be top, middle and bottom of any list. That, though, is not exactly a new aspiration. So here are 10 others.

1. Edinburgh Woollen Mill find their voice

So far, the firm that has United's backs do not wish to talk about the arrangement. In a couple of months, it will have been a year of keeping schtum since their "loan facility" was made available.

Actions trump words. We all know that. The colour of EWM's money, and the sincerity of their support, will continue to be valued by the Blues more than any dollop of PR.

They must know, though, that they are alongside an operation that remains in a hard, ongoing struggle for popularity.

In the couple of sentences uttered publicly since last March's deal, EWM's wealthy boss Philip Day suggested he was helping United because it was good for the community.

When chunks of that community are still unsure where the club is heading, ownership and investment-wise, it would surely help if the people who now hold many of the cards took a greater part in the conversation.

2. Kick against mediocrity

So far this campaign has never been bad enough to provoke real crisis talk, yet also never good enough to get the juices properly flowing.

United have not lost more than two league games in a row. The same, alas, goes for wins.

The result: 13th, a bottom line of mediocrity with four months to go.

This is more dangerous than it seems. Unless form seriously spikes, there will come a point when Carlisle's inconsistent campaign risks having little hope of a meaningful finale.

At that stage, apathy will be on hand to jump in, along with a question some are already asking: How much tolerance does this Blues regime have for run-of-the-mill, for drift?

3. Sort out the home form

An old chestnut. But that says it all. Carlisle's efforts at Brunton Park were shoddy throughout 2017 and another 12 months like the last at HQ cannot be tolerated.

Five league victories in the calendar year on their own turf equalled the second worst tally in the club's history.

Such form is a turn-off to floating supporters and does little to reward the more hardy faithful.

While away results have been better lately, only very occasionally have United looked comfortable when forcing the issue at the old place.

That is not the sign of a smoothly-functioning operation, so addressing this should be very high on the agenda for all concerned, especially players and manager.

4. Make intentions clear

The fact Keith Curle's January budget sit-down with the hierarchy is only happening tomorrow seems odd. Nearly a sixth of the window gone before the tête-à-tête takes place?

Slightly less pressing, but no less significant, is another agenda item: Curle's contract situation.

United's last two defeats and current position have hardly advanced the case for a long-term extension. But the club's handling of this requires judgement all the same.

If they were completely sold on the Bristolian's ability to enhance the club for years to come, would things not have gathered pace before now?

Yet if they are more results-driven, and happier to let things run until the summer - at which point Curle's current deal will be up - what effect will that have on the immediate sense of stability at Brunton Park?

Coming out of this predicament with all parties happy - fans included - isn't going to be easy.

5. Get the catering right

This surely falls into the "you have one job" category: those involved in providing food and drink for football fans doing so without serious mishap.

It is a requirement as old as the hills. Yet at Brunton Park it has been scathingly received not just this season but several before.

United, after a flurry of complaints about queues and service on Boxing Day, invited feedback which they said caterers ABM, appointed in the summer, have "taken on board".

To be in this position at all four months into a campaign does not say much for claims that an "unrivalled" service would be presented to the public.

A photo taken by one fan at the Coventry game on December 30 showed a menu on A4 paper suspended over a Pioneer Stand outlet by a few bits of gaffer tape.

Such "service" will surely get the custom it deserves. Meanwhile, a reply from ABM to an emailed request for comment sent on December 26 would be welcome.

6. Fulfil the big promise

Not much is left to be said about the billionaire saga that finally ended in February 2017. But one aspect still hangs: chairman Andrew Jenkins' "promise" to name the not-so-mystery person.

The world and his wife where United are concerned know it was the Syrian, Yahya Kirdi. It still matters, though, that those words come from Carlisle's lips.

Reading between the lines, next month may be when legal agreements expire so that the Blues can finally comment.

Some uncomfortable questions may follow. So be it. An episode passing into history should not disqualify us from examining it.

Most importantly, though, a club's word to its people ought to be its bond. Anything else that gets in the way of United saying Kirdi's name would weaken that further.

7. Bang the drum

Passion: one of the most over-used and over-valued commodities in football. But it still has its place.

This isn't about players charging around like maniacs, beating their chests, but the folk responsible for funding and running United telling the world how great it is and can be.

Late in 2017, chief executive Nigel Clibbens was provoked into a detailed period of disclosure by Chris Lumsdon on BBC Radio Cumbria .

This was followed by a pledge to be more open generally. On Tuesday night Clibbens used Twitter to respond to a fan who had voiced some deep-rooted concerns.

More of this is needed. If those at the helm are not out there regularly giving the public reasons to believe in the Blues, then why should they?

These may not be vintage times on the pitch, but United still have positive aspects worth promoting, and a lot of loyalty worth recapturing.

8. Sort the stadium

Or at least make progress. It is now more than six years since Project Blue Yonder was announced, and still United are barely an inch further towards a long-term stadium solution.

Tentative hints at a fresh look at the matter were offered last year. In 2018 these need to grow towards a convincing plan.

While United have improved aspects of an ageing Brunton Park - post-flood work, refurbished Sunset Suite, much better media facilities, a 'Fanzone' in the offing - the bigger picture remains one of the most challenging of all subjects facing the club.

Who would fund a new ground? Where could it be built? How could the Blues and local authorities produce something proactive? Or, is there any hope of surmounting the flood risks and renovating their current, awkward home for a new era?

Answers won't come easily. But the longer the questions hang, the more difficult and unsatisfying the situation will become.

9. Heal the injured bodies

Much of the above will be subject to debate, but one hope we can all share concerns Carlisle's sidelined players.

2017 did not see nearly enough of Jason Kennedy in a blue shirt and it seems 2018 won't see the midfielder on the pitch at all.

One of Curle's best signings faces a long and demanding road back. It is hard to calculate how much United have lost through his absence but a successful recovery from pelvis surgery for the midfielder would certainly brighten the 2019 new year bulletins.

Nicky Adams, facing his own challenge of a cruciate knee ligament injury, will be back sooner, hopefully with the same qualities and influence as before.

One of life's sunnier customers, a healed and fit Adams aiming pinpoint crosses into the box in the second half of 2018 would be a cheery sight indeed.

10. Make us smile

Coming to the game should still be about escapism. Even when wider concerns stack up, a good 90 minutes can put a spring in our stride.

In other words: Carlisle still have the power to influence moods and shape weekends.

The more often they wield this power, the more support they will retain. A memorable FA Cup afternoon, against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, could light up not just a cold January day but a significant part of the campaign.

The risible Checkatrade Trophy aside, United have shown up well in the cups this season. Should Hallam Hope, Richie Bennett, Jamie Devitt et al summon one of their good days against the Owls, a few thousand people will feel a touch better about life.

When you stop thinking such things could happen, it's time to give up. Giving us things to cheer, then, is a resolution for today, tomorrow and all the year ahead.