Ryan Loft could be back in the reckoning for Carlisle United against Swindon tomorrow.

The striker missed last weekend’s draw with Mansfield with illness.

The Leicester loanee has, though, returned to training this week and will be further assessed by head coach Chris Beech before the clash with the League Two leaders.

Beech said: “He trained yesterday. He scored a couple of goals in training, so good for him.

“We’ll see how he recovers from that.

“He was not himself [before] last weekend. I did have a few conversations with him, he pulled out on the matchday [as] not being fit, spent some time at home and he’s come back and trained yesterday.

“With a bit of luck he’ll train a little bit better today and will be in a better position to answer that question.”

Stefan Scougall, meanwhile, was today said to be working with physio Neil Dalton after he limped out of Tuesday’s reserve game with a hamstring injury.

Beech said he had “a few” injury doubts ahead of tomorrow’s game but would not give any further details.

Loft’s return, meanwhile, will give Beech further attacking options, with Omari Patrick also hoping to make his first-team debut.

They could face a fight, though, to oust recent signings Lewis Alessandra and Joshua Kayode – the latter having scored two in two games.

Harry McKirdy is also pushing for a return to the side, with Nathan Thomas also in form, having been shortlisted for the PFA Bristol Street Motors League Two player of the month award for January that went to Plymouth's Luke Jephcott.

On his increased attacking competition, Beech said: “That’s just the right place to be, if you end up with two, three, possibly four attacking players on the pitch.

“I think we ended up with five against Cardiff when trying to win that FA Cup match.

“You’ve got to have competitive competition for places, 100 per cent, because it keeps people on their toes and if you’re not quite at it, it gives options for us to change it to make sure we protect Carlisle.”

Another frontman trying to force his way back into favour is Scunthorpe loanee Olufela Olomola.

He remained at the club after the closure of the transfer window despite his recent absence from some matchday squads.

Olomola featured for the reserves against Fleetwood on Tuesday and Beech said he has been pleased with the striker’s attitude.

He said: “Fela’s been excellent. I like players that run, cover ground, get the ball back, make more runs, affect the game in different ways as well as score.

“I’ve had lots of technical discussions with Fela and he’s responded to them. Without sharing too much information, certain elements of that are improving and he’s committing to that.

“Fair play to him. You could argue why [weren’t they there] in the first place. I always look at things from all angles.

“But if he’s doing it and continues to do it I’m sure you’ll see him score another goal for Carlisle.”

At the other end of the pitch, defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival was not involved in the reserve game despite the ex-Bradford man also falling out of the first-team picture.

Beech said he was happy for the experienced centre-half to train that day instead.

Asked why he did not get any second-string action in the Central League Cup game, Beech said: “Because I could only play two centre halves. I see Jon Mellish and Max Hunt play in those positions,

“Knight’s professional enough to…and, [given] his age, I’m not sure a midweek game against Fleetwood’s extended youth team would have done him any good.

“I know he played in the Blackpool fixture, but they changed their content of team that day, I got a text off their staff but we’ve already gone down the route of ‘you’re playing tomorrow’

“This time we knew, and Knight [instead] had a proper full-tilt training session.”

Beech said he has been happy with the way out-of-favour players have responded in recent days, including those who could not be moved on before the transfer deadline.

He said: “I’ve been really pleased with the lads’ responses, especially with the window shutting.

“There were two or three players we were looking to help facilitate them playing by possibly leaving, but it’s gone now, so it’s lockdown now – it’s the way it is to the end of the season unless you look at non-league options.

“They’ve really committed to the training programme, and I’ve been really pleased with that.”