Carlisle United expect to avoid a repeat of last season’s training facilities crisis in 2021/22.

The Blues were hit hard by a combination of Covid-19 and the weather last winter as they endured a spell when they could barely train outdoors.

The period saw boss Chris Beech make a public appeal for any local organisations to help the squad at a time they were limited to using the indoor Neil Sports Centre at Brunton Park.

The situation has led to further questions over whether United are properly equipped with all the facilities they need.

But club chiefs have stressed that last season brought “extreme” circumstances to their door.

And they believe a less disrupted campaign next time will not pose so many problems as they will again be able to use various other facilities in the area.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “Carlisle gets winter weather every year. It’s had winter weather before Chris Beech came, it had winter weather with Keith Curle…

“The club has always had alternative provisions. And we’ve had more alternative provisions to deal with weather since David [Holdsworth, director of football] came in. He went and found some extra ones.

“But the club has always had winter provision to deal with alternatives when our [own] training pitch froze, because it freezes every year.

“The key point to understand here is this year we had Covid. During the time in which we needed the alternative facilities, the places where we would go were unavailable because they were locked down.

“It wasn’t fact we didn’t have the contingencies. All contingencies had gone.

“We’ve talked about rugby clubs – [and the fact we shouldn’t have] been using any rugby club because the RFU had locked them all down [because of Covid]

“So next year if it’s frozen, we can go to Kendal and Penrith rugby clubs like we have always done.”

United have admitted that a modern training centre of their own would be ideal, but it is not currently be within the Blues’ financial reach.

Clibbens added: “You can say we should have had a contingency in case all contingencies went away.

“That would be nice to have, but we can’t afford it.

“A lot of these things come back to a central issue – about [succession and] investment.”

Clibbens, speaking at last week’s fans’ forum, was asked by one fan whether United could explore possibilities at Newton Rigg College near Penrith, which is being sold, and has artificial football pitches.

“That’s a new one to me – something that we can take away and look at,” the director replied.

Holdsworth, meanwhile, said United “did everything we could” to find facilities in the challenging winter period.

He added: “I don’t think we’re going to find another circumstance like that [again] – and hopefully the world never does.

“Due to the fact some places were shut and couldn’t let us in because of Covid, it restricted what we had,

“Chris explained that in his mannerisms and that’s fine.

“But we all support the team and players and the manager.

“We tried everything…even going beyond where we needed to be.

“Would we like alternative venue that says ‘Carlisle United’ with big windows, big swimming pool, 4G pitches…? I would love one.

“I would love the council, if there is a chance to do that, to sit down again and [see what is possible].

“Can the club do that? Without the relevant finance I would assume that’s going to be the biggest [hurdle]. It will come down to finance and that’s not easy.”

United’s directors compared the situation to that of Fleetwood, who have a state-of-the-art training complex thanks to major investment from owner Andy Pilley.

“Fleetwood have invested a huge amount of money and it is a great facility,” Holdsworth added.

“We would love one for the players. It would help with recruitment…we’re meeting players over the next few days and want to bring them to the best environment.

“We’re going to show them how hard our groundsman is working on our pitch now

“But [a longer-term solution] takes everyone pulling together in the area.”

The Blues, meanwhile, have commented on the summer work they are doing on their pitch and training facilities this summer.

On United's website, Clibbens said: "[The main Brunton Park pitch] is the top pitch priority and will get the lion’s share of the spending.

“We want to provide the best playing surface possible, better than our rivals, and we want to be seen as making a positive contribution to winning and playing football as the manager wants it to be played.

“When it comes to Creighton, Dave [Mitchell] has a plan of works to titivate the surface, but that’s an unsecured public site that we hire, with no water or drainage. That makes other works of no real value.

“However, the planned work will make improvements, which is important.

“The training pitch behind the stadium will have more investment than at any time since the last flood.

“With the surface removed it will be verti-drained, levelled, sanded and seeded.

“This again is the maximum amount of work that can be practically undertaken in the time available. Without a six-figure sum invested in drainage, this is the best option."