Chris Beech is set to give some of Carlisle United’s young guns their chance tonight.

And the Papa John’s Trophy game against Aston Villa’s Under-21s could see home-grown midfielder Josh Dixon involved after a two-year injury nightmare.

Cumbrian Dixon has fought his way back from two cruciate knee ligament injuries and head coach Beech plans to include him in the squad (Brunton Park, 7pm).

If 19-year-old Dixon gets on the pitch it would be a hugely-welcome and long-awaited senior debut for a player who has long been held in high regard behind the scenes at Carlisle.

He impressed in pre-season in summer 2019 before suffering the injury that put his first-team graduation on hold.

Academy product Dixon has been working hard to reach full fitness and Beech said the youngster will “definitely” be involved provided he came through yesterday’s training with no ill effects.

United’s boss will also mix things up in other departments with a number of other young players set to feature in the dead-rubber northern group A game in the controversial competition.

Teenage winger Lewis Bell, who was recently handed a professional deal, is among those expected to feature in the squad for the Cumbrians, along with other youth players.

Beech is also likely to hand new defensive signing Rhys Bennett his first start as he shuffles his squad amid another busy run of fixtures.

“It’s good to be playing again and there will be a good change-around of who plays in the game,” Beech said.

“There will be a couple of lads involved [from Saturday] but it also gives a great opportunity to everyone who’s been patient.

“It’s a first-team game, but we know where we are in that competition, so we’ll have to use it to the best of our abilities in our current situation.”

Defender Jack Armer is set to get another opportunity and Beech said it is vital all those called up make the most of the opportunity.

“It’s important to them,” he said.

“Josh hasn’t played for two years, and it’s also important to lads like Jack Armer.

“He made his second start last Sunday [at Hayes & Yeading] and this will be his third start.

“We’ll utilise the game to maximise the opportunity for others to get minutes. There’ll be a lot of changes and another chance for players to get out on this great pitch of ours. They’ll be up against some good young players, but we’ll be young as well.”

Bennett, who joined on a short-term deal last week, is likely to be one of the more experienced players on show for the Cumbrians.

The ex-Peterborough, Mansfield and Rochdale man came off the bench against Cheltenham on Saturday, featuring in midfield and attacking areas as he tried to help United salvage a point.

Bennett, 29, has not started a game since February but Beech says he is in good condition, having been training with Keith Curle’s Northampton squad before moving to Cumbria.

“Rhys is a good player – he’s a centre-half, but in the embers of the game on Saturday, we needed a bit of height and to try and inject a little bit of physicality to the game, and he did,” United’s boss said.

“He’s quite fit – he was at Northampton for three weeks before he came here, so he’s fit.”

It is United’s final group game in the newly-sponsored competition and neither the Blues nor Villa’s Under-21s can progress, Fleetwood and Sunderland having already qualified.