Gavin Skelton says Carlisle United must match Harrogate Town’s commitment tonight in order to make a successful return to action.

The Blues head to the EnviroVent Stadium (kick-off 7pm) for the third time this season after two aborted previous visits.

And assistant boss Skelton says United must be ready to confront the battling qualities of Simon Weaver’s 16th-placed side.

“They’re in good form,” Skelton said. “We’re really looking forward to the game and I’m sure they are because their game was off on Saturday as well.

“They’ve had some good results of late, we’ve obviously done our homework on them and they’re extremely well organised and they work hard.

“They had success last year which they’ve been able to carry on and they’ve got some really good players.

“They’re very committed and really difficult to play against. They win a lot of second balls and really test you.

“We know we’ll have to be up for it and meet it head on, and take our game to them.

“The manager has been there a long time, Paul Thirlwell [the former Blues skipper] has been there a long time, so they know what they want and expect. Hopefully the work we’ve done will mean that we’re ready, and hopefully we can start building some momentum.”

Head coach Chris Beech should have most of his first-team players available to pick from as United play only their fourth game of 2021.

The Cumbrians are set to be boosted soon by the return of right-back George Tanner, who is back in training after a broken collarbone.

Skelton would not be drawn on when the defender could feature in the side again, only saying that Carlisle would continue to assess the ex-Manchester United man’s progress carefully.

“He has trained of late but we’re still waiting to see how far off he is from a return to action,” said Skelton of Tanner.

“He obviously had a very nasty injury but he’s working back towards full fitness.

“He’s a naturally fit lad anyway so we’ll see where he’s at with the training sessions to come. He’s been out for a long time so we’ll see how he manages.”

Despite Tanner’s injury, which he suffered in mid-December and which required surgery, the defender has so far missed only six games so far.

Longer-term absentees Morgan Feeney and Danny Devine remain out.

United start the game in eighth position as they begin their bid to catch up on rivals who have played several matches more.

Skelton, though, said there is little to be gained by scrutinising the League Two table at this stage.

“I used to look at it all the time when I was playing but I’m not too bad now,” the coach said.

“We’ve spoken about how many points usually get you to where you want to be – you can work it out roughly over the last 10 or 12 seasons.

“It doesn’t matter how we get there, we know how many wins we want – even though we’d obviously love to win every game.

“It doesn’t matter how the league table looks now or how other people get on. If we end up with a certain points total we’ll end up in a certain position in the league.”

News and Star: Ex-United striker Mark Beck, left, could be involved for Harrogate tonight (photo: PA)Ex-United striker Mark Beck, left, could be involved for Harrogate tonight (photo: PA)

Harrogate's former United striker Mark Beck could be involved tonight as he returns from injury.

"He used to play for Carlisle, so obviously he’s got a point to prove,” Harrogate boss Simon Weaver said in The Yorkshire Post.

“He’s very hard to play against. We recognised that when he was at Darlington, that’s why we wanted to bring him in.

“He is a real handful and he has just been unlucky with the season he has had.

“You only have to look at the Portsmouth [FA Cup] game last season when he’d had a run of games, was scoring goals and was an absolute beast against a top League One outfit. We know what he is capable of, he just needs a bit of luck – a run of games and to avoid injuries.”

Beck scored 10 goals in 77 first-team appearances for the Blues from 2012-15 after coming through the youth team.