Gavin Skelton admits rookie defenders Jarrad Branthwaite and Jon Mellish have given boss Steven Pressley a selection headache.

The centre-half duo helped Carlisle United to victory against Macclesfield with the experienced Byron Webster and Nathaniel Knight-Percival suspended and out of favour respectively.

Assistant manager Skelton says their displays have given Pressley plenty to think about ahead of Friday’s FA Cup trip to Dulwich Hamlet.

“It’s tough for the manager now,” Skelton said. “Of course, that’s what you want, and it is a tough one, because they did brilliantly.

“I’m sure he [Pressley] will reflect and see what’s best. But they’ve given themselves every opportunity.”

Skelton, meanwhile, says United must not ramp up the pressure too much ahead of Friday’s televised tie.

There will be an extra sense of occasion with the live TV cameras present and National League South side Dulwich hoping to take Carlisle’s scalp.

Skelton said: “You talk to them [about all that], but players aren’t daft. Sometimes if you speak to them about it too much individually it builds up even more for them.

“It was promising on Saturday that in missing Byron, they showed a good culture, a steady head, and that will be vital on Friday night, because that will be up-and-at-them – people will be out for a scalp.”

A young United side will face Northbank in tonight’s Cumberland Cup second round clash at Penrith’s Frenchfield Park (7.45pm).