Carlisle City supporters will be delighted just to be walking into Gillford Park tomorrow for the Northern League Division Two encounter with Esh Winning.

It seems an unusual practice for City fans recently, as the last time their favourites played on home turf was the incredible 5-5 draw with Newcastle University on 14 December - some six weeks ago!

Since then City have been managed to play just four games - all away - due to the incessant rainfall in the north of England in recent weeks.

The most recent of those was the eagerly anticipated Cumberland Senior Cup quarter-final at neighbours - and big rivals - Cleator Moor Celtic on Tuesday.

The Sky Blues went into the midweek tie on the back of a resounding league win at Bedlington Terriers last weekend.

Once serial champions of the Northern League first division, the Terriers appear to have suffered a steady decline and an attendance of just 58 demonstrates that this particular corner of the north east is no longer the ‘hot-bed of football’ it used to be.

A hat-trick for Sam Atkinson, along with goals from Rob McCartney and the youthful Quinn Fahling, who grabbed his first league goal for the club, completed a 5-0 hammering handed out by the rampant City.

Tuesday’s cup visit to Moor turned out to be as close, and keenly fought, as expected between the two adversaries.

Sky Blues were second best in the opening 45 minutes, but the scoresheet remained blank. The home side eventually made their possession tell as they took the lead on the hour mark.

It took just one minute for City to restore parity, when Sam Atkinson equalised But when the hosts regained the lead late in the game, it appeared City were heading for defeat. Yet City - who just don’t know when they are beaten lately - stormed back with an 86th minute equaliser courtesy of Michael slack, which took the game to extra-time.

The end-to-end cup-tie was finally settled in the 101st minute with Celtic’s third, and decisive, goal.

City will hope to restart their run of home games - three of the next four are at Gillford Park - by replicating the form they showed prior to the run of postponements.

The Sky Blues were unbeaten in six home games before Christmas - winning five and drawing one - which, along with just one defeat in seven away fixtures, is the type of consistency the Jim Nichols’ side will need if they are to maintain their promotion push.

Meanwhile, in Division One, Penrith face a tough home game with seventh-placed Guisborough, who are unbeaten in their last six league games.

Dabba Hewson’s side have found a bit of form lately as they bid to stave off the threat of relegation, picking up a win and a draw in their last two games.

But facing a confident Guisborough side will be a test of Penrith’s new-found resilience, as they bid to climb the table.

In Scottish League Two, struggling Annan face the daunting task of visiting table-topping Cove Rangers, who have won their last five games.

Having leaked too many goals recently, Peter Murphy’s side are in danger of slipping out of the play-off spots this weekend.

Having previously hinted at bringing players in to bolster his squad, Murphy this week re-signed goalkeeper Alex Mitchell.

Mitchell returns to Galabank from Workington Reds, and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s long trek to northern Scotland.

With expectation against them, the clash at Cove could be seen as something of a free-hit for Annan.