Gavin Skelton says Carlisle United should be excited rather than daunted by the demanding fixture list that lies ahead.

The Blues are finally set to resume their season at Harrogate Town tonight (EnviroVent Stadium, 7pm) after a series of frustrating postponements.

United must play 23 games in 82 days as they try to reignite a promotion challenge that has been held up by the weather and Covid-19 so far in 2021.

Tonight’s game in north Yorkshire - which should go ahead at the third attempt - is one of seven consecutive midweek fixtures as the Blues play catch-up on their rivals.

But assistant boss Skelton says United must adopt the right mindset as they set about the challenge.

“I just think it’s really exciting,” he said.

“Some of the players might feel it will be hard work but we have got a competitive squad.

“That means if people aren’t performing to their maximum we’ll have the capability to change them, depending on injuries and suspensions.

“We can’t moan that we haven’t had games only to then start moaning when we have. It’s two games a week, so be it, I think we should look forward to it and get what we can out of it.

“The more games the better for me, especially if we can build momentum. If we’re picking up points it builds positivity and suddenly all of those games feel easier.

“I personally feel this is a good thing.

“I have experienced it before where the weather has caused a build up of games and you can look for excuses, or whatever, but there are no excuses from us. I’m just looking forward to it.”

Although United have as many as six games to make up on some of their promotion rivals, they could still return to the promotion places with victory tonight.

It will hopefully be third time lucky for the fixture against the Sulphurites after December 29’s game was called off after eight minutes because of concerns about the pitch, before the second attempt two weeks later fell victim to a power cut.

Temperatures are not expected to fall any lower than 6C in Harrogate tonight.

Covid-enforced suspensions and the recent cold snap means United have only played three games since the turn of the year.

Skelton hopes supporters tuning in on iFollow will enjoy the sight of the Blues returning to regular action.

“We feel the same frustration, we’re no different than the fans are,” he said.

“We’re desperate to get out there and be playing games, and hopefully the reward for the fans will be that they’ll see a good performance when they tune in.

“When you speak to the family, or people who you bump into when you’re out on walks, you can tell everyone is missing it. Our games give people something to look forward to, especially at the moment when there isn’t too much else going on, and knowing they’re cheering us on adds an intensity to it, which is great.

“We have loads of games coming up and if everyone is still looking foward to each and every one, it means we’re doing well.

“Hopefully [we won’t suffer any more postponements] but who knows what’s round the corner? The last 12 months have shown us that you can’t say anything for definite, and if something does come up you just deal with it.

“There are a lot bigger things going on in the world than postponed football matches. We’re disappointed when it happens but we adapt, we accept that it’s the same for both teams and we look ahead to what we can control.

“We want to play games, build momentum and take whatever comes. We now have 23 chances to win games and 23 chances to get a points total we feel will be competitive in this league.”

Skelton says the players are desperate to be back in action and believes United have a squad that can cope with the rigours of the next three months.

“It’s a very competitive squad, they’re chomping at the bit, and it’s difficult to pick teams, benches and squads when you have players who all want to play and who probably deserve to play,” said Beech’s No2.

“That’s the manager’s final decision, which you can kind of pass over to him, but you can feel the competitive edge in training and you can tell that players can feel the pressure of having someone waiting to take their place.

“If you want to be an elite team that wants to do well, that sort of situation should push people on to do even better.

“You have to be adaptable in any season, whatever the situation. You get injuries, suspensions, and the five subs rule has changed how things work as well.

“There are so many factors – the opposition, home or away, players out of form – you just have to react and adapt as things go on.

“That’s all part of the challenge and the excitement of doing the jobs we do and we’re ready for whatever might come our way.”