Carlisle United will have Premier League preparation for tomorrow’s game at Crawley – thanks to Aston Villa.

The top-flight outfit are allowing the Cumbrians to use their training facilities as the Blues make the long journey to Sussex.

Carlisle will train at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground which is normally occupied by stars like Jack Grealish.

It will enable the Cumbrians to break up their 348-mile trip with the use of a high-quality training surface en route.

It is not the first time United have benefited from the Villans’ generosity with boss Chris Beech grateful to the Villa manager Dean Smith.

The offer came shortly after Carlisle played Villa’s Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.

Beech said: “I’m very passionate on a Saturday, but the other day I was on my best behaviour, because my mate Dean’s Aston Villa manager.

“I WhatsApped Dean, and he hadn’t double-ticked me, so I was asking every staff member to make sure they asked their manager after the game if we could train there on Friday on the way down.

“Thankfully I got the thumbs up from my mate.”

Beech said the opportunity to train at a place like Aston Villa was important at a time the Cumbrians have been limited in some of their options back in Cumbria.

“We can travel down to Villa and we can train on one of their grass pitches, which is great,” he said.

“It’s a little difficult [because of Covid-19 restrictions] – we don’t go in the buildings, just get off the coach, train and get back on it, but at least we’ve got the players’ legs going.

“It’s a bit of a challenge here. Our main pitch is tremendous thanks to Dave Mitchell, but our training ground is pretty heavy now.

“A lot of work we are doing is representative, because we work so hard on the training pitch – that’s where you develop a future player or try and get your team ready to beat an opponent.

“It’s more difficult because some of our lean-ons, people we can use in the area, like Penrith Rugby Club with their 4G, it’s all been closed down because of Covid.

“We’ve been put on our back foot, really. So to train somewhere like Aston Villa, a training pitch that’s as good as our first-team pitch, is tremendous.

“I might even put my boots on, it’s something to look forward to.”

Sixth-placed United will be without Connor Malley tomorrow with the Middlesbrough loan midfielder ruled out with the foot injury he suffered on Tuesday.

But Joshua Kayode and Dean Furman are back from international duty while Gime Toure has returned from a three-match suspension.

They could face a ninth-placed Crawley side who are likely to include ex-Blues loan forward Ashley Nadesan (kick-off 1.30pm).

Jon Mellish is likely to come back into the side as he bids to keep up his incredible goalscoring run of 11 goals in 11 games.

Beech said: “It’s an amazing statistic but there’s no ‘i’ in ‘team’, and without the other players, Jon can’t do what he’s doing.

“Let’s keep going, if he keeps scoring I have no problem with that, but so can others.”