United’s head coach has spoken about the importance of staying strong - both physically and mentally - during the indefinite league shutdown.

Chris Beech spoke of the challenges faced by Carlisle United’s squad in maintaining their fitness and focus during the coronavirus lockdown - particularly given that no one can say when the nine remaining games of the season will be played.

“Not knowing when those nine games are going to be makes it really difficult for the lads to stay motivated,” Beech said.

“It’s hard to prepare for something that doesn’t have a definite starting date. Motivation is obviously affected, that’s human nature, and that’s nothing to do with professionalism or a lowering of standards.

“We’ve all had to adapt and change from our natural way of doing things, where normally we would be sociable.”

Beech praised United’s strength and conditioning coach David Waldie for being so quick off the mark in putting together a regime for the squad to follow throughout the shutdown period.

“He’d already started to think about the possibility of football shutting down days before it actually happened,” he said.

“That meant he had a programme ready to go out to the lads on that Monday, when the close down was confirmed.

“But we have to bear in mind that other factors will creep in the longer this goes on.”

He said that for some of the players, coronavirus will bring them personal worries that will undoubtedly play on their minds.

“Omari is a great example of that. His partner is a nurse and he hasn’t seen her for a while now as she does an unbelievable job working within the NHS.”

Beech acknowledged that the extended period of uncertainty will be more of a worry to some players than others.

“Some of them, those who don’t have contracts, they’ll be concerned about what they’re doing next year,” he said.

“I haven’t spoken to any player about that side of things at all yet because, as things stand, we still have nine games left to play.”

“These lads want to know what’s going on.

“They’ve got their mortgages and families to think about, so I find it really difficult when all I can tell them is that I don’t know the answers to their questions right now.

“Whenever it is that we’re back, it’ll be when the country is ready for us to restart, and that will only be because it’s been deemed that it’s safe to do so. I’m very comfortable with that because whatever our problems or opinions, the important thing has to be that we defeat this virus.”