Caretaker manager Gavin Skelton has challenged his Carlisle United troops to “get on the front foot” today when they host Cambridge United.

Cumbrian Skelton, who will remain at the temporary helm for the visit of Colin Calderwood’s men to Brunton Park this afternoon (3pm kick-off), says he has informed his players of how he expects the U’s to set-up.

But the 38-year-old former Workington Reds and Queen of the South boss has told United’s players to try to stamp their own mark on the game as the 20th-placed League Two team look to start to climb the table.

“We are aware of what shape they have played in the last two or three games and the variations they have,” said Skelton on Cambridge.

"They have some good players and we are aware of how they play, and we have to do our best to stop that.

"But, on the flip side of that, we need to counter that, get on the front foot and try to take the game to them."

After returning from international duty, Cambridge’s ex-Carlisle midfielder Reggie Lambe will be in contention, while midfield partner Luke Hannant (back) is also expected to be available for the visitors who are 13th in the table.

Skelton said: “Obviously, they [Cambridge] have some good players, and some good legs and good ability in the middle of the park.

“They, generally, have played with a back three, so they are quite strong in that area.

“And up front, they have a little and large [combination] so, if they want to go short or play long, they have that variation. So, we have to counter that.

“But like I say, we have a game plan where we want to get on the front foot and take the game to them.”

This will be Skelton’s second game in caretaker charge of the Cumbrians, having been at the helm for last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Port Vale, while Carlisle also won a reserve friendly at Morecambe 4-0 on Tuesday.

On how the players have responded since Steven Pressley’s sacking last week, Skelton said: “It is difficult and, for some of them, it’s the first time they have been through it.

“But they have to adapt.

“Footballers are resilient and different ones have different relationships [with their manager], but you have to get on with it, and they have done this week.

“Their attitude towards Tuesday was excellent and their attitude towards training has been really positive.

“I expect that to continue.”

Midfielder Stefan Scougall is in contention after he played 60 minutes in midweek, while frontman Hallam Hope yesterday was assessed after he returned to the UK following time away on international duty with Barbados.

Skelton will also need to decide whether to include defender Aaron Hayden, who scored twice against Morecambe, from the start after Byron Webster’s error for Port Vale’s winner in Saturday’s 2-1 loss.