Chris Beech says it is “special” for Carlisle United finally to be back in action – and the boss wants to give fans something to savour.

Carlisle host Fleetwood in the EFL Trophy tonight in Brunton Park’s first competitive game since March.

It will be a first chance for Beech to field his new-look side in a meaningful game.

The head coach says he wants it to be the start of a season where team and fans have a strong rapport.

He has been delighted with the positive reception much of his summer transfer work has received.

And Beech said: “It’s been a big part of it.

“I’ve been trying to help create that. I want us to – and have said it since I walked in – be united.

“Carlisle United is the name, we’ve got to unite the club.

“Players have to have rapport and resonate with the fans, the fans have to resonate with the players, and it will happen more if they see hard work and wins, and create some sort of momentum.”

Beech reiterated his view that United can take inspiration from other underdog stories as they set about their 2020/21 campaign.

He said Carlisle’s budget will be lower than that of others but that should not deter the Cumbrians.

He said: “In terms of what we should do – we shouldn’t really do anything, because financially we shouldn’t, if you look at the league table from that structure.

“But I take great admiration of teams like Wycombe, who are unbelievable at taking stress on, and don’t fret under pressure.

“It’s almost like being a boxer that’s very good at taking jabs and getting hits, and when they decide to punch they punch hard.

“The way they play football splits a lot of rooms, but in terms of admiring their spirit, and achieving something, I admire that from afar and think that spirit is something we want to create within the team.”

Beech was pleased Carlisle were able to bring tonight’s game forward a week and start their competitive season as soon as possible.

After tonight’s Trophy game, they are in Carabao Cup action at Oldham on Saturday.

On the return to action, he said: “It’s special. I think it’s great Fleetwood and ourselves have decided to go early on it.

“It’s amazing, really. It does feel different and it will be better when the fans are here, because that’s what our sport’s all about. Something to really look forward to.”

It will be the United boss’s first full season in charge after he arrived in November as Steven Pressley’s successor.

Beech said: “I’m very excited for it. I’m looking forward to seeing the players and I want us to be in a position when the fans come back that we’ve got something exciting to show them.

“It’s great to be back. I’m really looking forward to [tonight] and Saturday.

“I’ve put the handbrake on myself a little bit because there is always so much focus on the first game of the season and you can forget that there are so many after it. The first game is important, but the whole season is important.

“The lads will represent us, themselves and their families when they step out onto the pitch. We’ve put a team together to try and approach something and be competitive.

“We want to grow, and it’s that growth that I’m really interested in because momentum and excitement can build very quickly, but we’ve got to create it ourselves.

“We can’t pay for the answer so we have to try and grow it in a different way.”

Beech expects a tough encounter against Joey Barton’s League One side, who beat Carlisle 4-2 in a pre-season friendly last month.

He said: “I do know Joey and his team are very competitive. They’ve signed Callum Camps who I remember at 12-13 from training at Rochdale. It will be good to see him if he’s playing.”

Tonight’s game comes in a competition which has been a turn-off to many fans in recent seasons because of the controversial involvement of top-flight under-21 sides.

On the prospect of a run in the Trophy, and the chance to reach Wembley, Beech said: “It seems so far away…

“I’ve been there; I wasn’t on the first team staff but Rochdale got there in the playoffs, and I went there as a young lad as well when Blackpool got there in the playoffs, I was only 16.

“It would be brilliant to try and get to Wembley. I know the competition’s been brilliant for this club in the past but there’s a long way to go before we can start talking about that.”