Nathan Rooney says he and the caretaker set-up at Carlisle United will “keep our standards high” despite the uncertainty over the top job.

The Blues are preparing for a second game under Gavin Skelton’s temporary management as United continue their search for a new boss.

Carlisle are understood to be speaking to several candidates this week, with further interviews with those on a final shortlist likely to be held after this weekend.

There is no sign yet, though, of when the Cumbrians will make an appointment, with suggestions of a quick decision in the next few days appearing wide of the mark.

Michael Bridges remains the odds-on bookies’ favourite but United, who have not commented on the process since Monday, are considering a number of options.

In the meantime they will host Cambridge on Saturday with Skelton, assisted by coach Rooney, seeking a much-needed victory at Brunton Park.

Coach Rooney, who was brought in by previous boss Steven Pressley, said the staff would remain in the right frame of mind in the current situation.

He said: “[A time like this] is always tough for a club and also tough for the backroom staff. Players get attached to people like anyone in life.

“You keep your continuous messages from previously, keep them moving forward, and we look to tweak on certain areas where we can help the team improve.

“I’ve worked with Steven in the past and this year, but I’m wearing the Carlisle badge, so I’ve got a job to do. Everyone out there expects that too.

“I’m here to work with the players, I’m here to work with the current staff, I’m here to get the three points on the table at the weekend.

“We just have to go with the flow, and what will be will be, but as staff you’ve got to keep putting yourself in the right frame of mind.

“Our standards won’t drop. The decision will be made and so be it.”

Pressley’s sacking was one of three managerial departures in quick succession in League Two, while United said they had received more than 100 applications for the post. They have said they are seeking a "head coach".

Director of football David Holdsworth is taking a leading role in meeting candidates but if previous appointments are a guide, the final decision will be taken by the board.

Rooney said keeping the players on track is the priority for the coaching team.

The former Crawley No2 said: “Other clubs have gone through it recently, there’s been a big turnover [of managers] in the last couple of weeks in the league.

“We’re professional, our work doesn’t change. People from the stands might be looking down [on Saturday]…it is what it is. It will be all the same preparation moving forward.

“We still walk into the same office every day, and the same group of people. It can be unsettling but the players are the most important thing – we’ve got to keep making sure they feel comfortable every day and have a smile on their face.”

Rooney said the players’ “application” since Pressley’s dismissal has been exemplary and he said the performance in defeat at Port Vale last Saturday, and in Tuesday’s 4-0 reserve win at Port Vale, showed signs of improvement.

United, though, are still sorely in need of points as they sit fifth-bottom of League Two, just five points above the relegation place.

Forward Hallam Hope, who scored twice for Barbados in their 3-0 win against the Cayman Islands on Wednesday, is expected to rejoin the Blues squad before the weekend.

Midfielder Mo Sagaf, who missed the Port Vale trip due to swelling on a head injury, will be assessed in training.

“We can’t overrule what the medical stage is with that,” Rooney added. “We’ll see how he goes [today], get a bit more contact on him, and I think we’ll know more going into Friday.”