Carlisle United's chief executive has said there is a chance fans could be back at Brunton Park sooner than expected.

October has long been thought to be the earliest that supporters would be allowed back into the ground due to Covid-19 safety restrictions.

Nigel Clibbens, though, says that guidance is fast-changing and Brunton Park's doors could be open sooner.

Speaking on the club's website, the director said he had received an email with "new information" on the matter last Friday.

He said: “At the time we were looking at perhaps Barrow being our first game with fans attending, with us having had one previous league game without any fans at all.

"Having got that email it informed us that everything might be getting brought forward. Things are quite simply changing all the time.

“It could be that everything accelerates and we get fans into games earlier than that October date. Hopefully we’ll have even better news next week about when fans can get in."

Test games have been taking place, including Brighton v Chelsea on Saturday which saw 2,500 paying home fans allowed to watch the game in the ground.

The success of such games, amid Covid-related safety and social distancing measures, will help determine how further steps can be taken to welcome back fans.

Clibbens said the changing situation means United have continued to hold off taking money from season-ticket holders, as it remains unclear how many games they will be able to watch.

The picture should be clearer soon, he said.

"Back in July the Prime Minister said mid-October which, for us, would have been around 20 games," he said regarding the projected time for fans to return.

“It then kind of moved and Barrow [on October 3] became a game fans could potentially come to, and now we’re looking to see whether it could be even sooner than that.

"It is really live and always changing, and that’s why we often delay making decisions to give us the maximum chance of getting it right.”

Clibbens explained that United's Covid safety plans have been accepted by the EFL, enabling them to stage tomorrow night's EFL Trophy game against Fleetwood.

He said the stadium "will be going into lockdown, essentially" from 2pm on the day of the game.

That, he said, will mean nobody will be allowed on the site who is not a "cleared individual", while there will be restricted access passes issued and red and amber zones around the stadium.

“It’ll be a good opportunity for the admin side of the club again to test itself and make sure that we’re ready to go," he said.

The Blues Store will still be open at normal times but United say there will be barriers to prevent people coming onto the area of the stadium "footprint", with all entry points manned by stewards.

Head coach Chris Beech, meanwhile, has spoken about the way United have negotiated the coronavirus challenges on the football side of things.

He said: "I’ve really enjoyed pre-season. It’s been pretty plain-sailing from a part of being organised.

"We’ve done eight weeks, did a good two weeks of the return-to-training phase one at Creighton, with lads coming and going in different groups, as preparation for the contact training after the testing.

"We’ve been tested [on Saturday] for Tuesday’s game.

"My biggest thing is we are now at a stage where we can play and we need to be mindful of protecting that from a social aspect, so when players go home and do other things they are respectful of what they do as a career and try not to bring the coronavirus into the building.

"That’s so difficult. It’s a unique situation for most."

He said United's players have needed to adapt to an unusual situation already with aspects of Carlisle's pre-season games resembling things seen at lower levels of football.

"The friendlies have been strange; we’ve been getting changed in different rooms, and last Thursday at Liverpool we got changed in the car park," he said.

"The kit was all rolled up on the floor then that lads got changed at the back of their cars.

"I was thinking about going round with a bucket and asking for their £10 subs, then I thought I might have to tell Callum Guy to get that can of beer out of his hand because we were about to kick off!

"That was the sort of game it felt like. It’s been so strange, so it will take a bit of time to get used to. We’ll have to find new ways to do simple things like team talks, and a lot of effort has gone into us getting ready to host a home game.

"We’ve got to use our common sense, so for the friendlies I’ve done as much as we can outside and treating the first team almost like a youth team.

"We’ve had the tactics board outside and we haven’t been going back into the dressing rooms between the warm-ups and kick-off; it’s simple things like that.

"We’ll find our way on Tuesday and try and get into a rhythm for home games."