Gavin Skelton says Carlisle United’s players are already ready to have their pre-season pitch time increased.

The Blues are preparing for a double-header on Saturday when they send different XIs to Workington Reds and Hebburn Town.

United have not confirmed exactly how the squad will be split for the two games.

But Skelton suggested it would be a “balanced” use of the players at his and boss Chris Beech’s disposal.

The assistant head coach said that, although United have just completed their first pre-season game, it is the right time to increase the workload of the squad.

“Sometimes you play 45 minutes and then run them after it, so you might as well get a ball out and be realistic,” Skelton said.

“You can expose them to being tired and starting again after half-time.

“Mentally and physically, stopping and starting is an important part of pre-season.”

United head to Borough Park to face a Reds side under the caretaker management of Steven Rudd, following Danny Grainger’s recent departure to Falkirk.

Former Blues youngster Liam Lightfoot could feature for Reds, who also recently signed ex-Carlisle forward Steven Rigg.

Saturday’s other game, meanwhile, sees a trip to the north east to take on the 2020 FA Vase winners.

The game against Hebburn was arranged as part of the deal which brought Hornets striker Cedwyn Scott to Brunton Park in January. The frontman is now with Gateshead.

It has been confirmed that Beech will take the team at Workington while Skelton will oversee things at Hebburn.

The coach added: “Hopefully it will be balanced out and there will be different reasons for doing it [the way we do].

“It’s not our first Saturday we’ve been back in, and lads need to be exposed to more minutes.

“We want to play Workington, a local game, and Hebburn with Cedwyn Scott coming last year and it’s important we play them.

“There’s nothing worse than lads just getting 45 all the time. It becomes a wasted day at times. They’ll get minutes and we’ll start looking at things after Saturday, going into Chorley and Kendal [next week].”

Beech, speaking on the club website on Tuesday, said he was “not [yet] sure” how the squad would be split.

He also said: “It’s important each player gets to a point of at least completing 90 minutes and, if possible, you want to try to do that several times. You’re trying to get ready for a season that starts in a month’s time, so that’s the focus.”

The Reds game is all-ticket with prices £8 (adult), £5 (over-65) and £2 (under-16). Tickets can be ordered by calling the club on 01900 602871 between 10.30am-12.30pm between now and Friday. They can be collected at the club either on matchday or beforehand.

Covid restrictions and bar limitations will apply, Reds have said.

The Hebburn game is pay on the gate, with a capacity of 1,500 allowed. Prices are £5 (adult), £3 (concession), £1 (child).

Tickets are also now on sale for United's trip to Chorley next Tuesday.

They are available via the home club's website, priced £10 (adult), £5 (12-17) and free for accompanied under-12s.

United say Lancashire County Council have not yet confirmed whether there will be a requirement to show a negative lateral flow test before entry, and say more details will follow.

Chorley, on their website, state: "Due to Covid restrictions being lifted on July 19, as far as we are aware there will be **NO **restrictions for admission to this game at Victory Park - this however is subject to change.

"We will continue to update our website and social media platforms regarding any changes to this plan."