Chris Beech said a “hard” training session took the place of normal Friday preparations after Carlisle United’s game against Leyton Orient was postponed.

The Blues head coach said he would use the cancellation of Saturday’s game to allow his players some extra rest – but only after a rigorous session today.

The match was called off early this afternoon because of a frozen pitch, as temperatures continue to plummet at Brunton Park.

After joking that his plans would be replaced with “a snowball fight and a bit of rest”, Beech said his “Plan B” was to “train very hard for [a couple of hours], and they’ll need the rest after that training session."

“It’s good to work hard,” he added. “A fast car wants to be driven quick, a boxer likes to be challenged and to train fast, footballers like to be motivated to train very hard, to stay to high elite standards.

“We’re going to push them [today] and then give them a couple of days’ rest.

“I got our players in later so we could train a little bit harder than what we would normally do in terms of match prep.”

Beech admitted it was “massively disappointing” not to have his table-topping side in action tomorrow.

But he said conditions had made the decision inevitable, with Orient informed of the postponement before they set off for Cumbria.

On the wintry weather this week, which has also set United challenges when it comes to training, Beech said: “It’s been hard, real hard.

“It was a bit touch and go at Walsall [last Saturday] – they had burning bins on the pitch, and the groundstaff did great to get the game on; the pitch actually played really well.

“But the weather hasn’t given up, especially further up [north] – it’s got worse if anything, and we’re in for a cold night tonight from what I can gather.

“It’s due to be -8 I think tonight. It was pretty harsh on that M6 getting into work this morning.

“The pitch is very hard, Dave [Mitchell, stadium manager] has done his best, he’s covered it, but there’s snow on top of the covers…and there’s just no chance.

“Whenever Leyton Orient would have travelled, that pitch was still going to be rock hard.

“We haven’t got undersoil heating, so game off.

“It’s massively disappointing because we love playing at home and we can’t do it tomorrow. We’ll accept it and move on, because that’s what we do.

“It gives us a little bit more time to prepare for Harrogate on Tuesday.”

United will remain top of League Two over the weekend, with none of their direct rivals in league action.

The highest-placed side in action are fifth-placed Cambridge, who could move to within two points of the Blues if they beat Harrogate tomorrow.

Carlisle could then strengthen their place at the summit when they head to Harrogate in four days’ time for their rearranged game.

Temperatures in north Yorkshire are also forecast to be well below freezing tonight, but are expected to rise in the following days, increasing the chances of Tuesday’s game being completed at the second attempt.