Carlisle United hope the “precautionary” decision to substitute Kelvin Mellor and Zach Clough will safeguard their fitness for a big week of league action.

Both players went off in the first half of the Blues’ 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Shrewsbury.

Assistant manager Gavin Skelton said right-back Mellor could have continued after feeling some tightness in his leg.

But he said United did not want to risk either player ahead of their league double-header at Mansfield and Stevenage on Tuesday and Saturday.

Both will be further assessed.

“Kelvin just felt a little bit tight – he said he could have probably carried on, but with the two games coming up and the travelling, it’s not worth taking that risk,” Skelton said.

“[Zach was] similar I think. He felt a bit tight and it was precautionary [why] he’s come off.”

News and Star: Kelvin Mellor in action before he went off injured against ShrewsburyKelvin Mellor in action before he went off injured against Shrewsbury

United’s ability to make five changes from a nine-man subs bench in the FA Cup had helped consolidate the decision, Keith Millen’s No2 added.

“Because you’ve got those extra subs and extra times that you can do it,” he said.

“Looking at the bigger picture, it was important we couldn’t take an risk with them.

“We’ll see over the weekend on how serious they are, but hopefully by doing that they won’t miss any game time.”

While United will hope the duo do not join the injury list at Brunton Park, Skelton was glad to see Brennan Dickenson back from the sidelines on Saturday.

“He gives us a different asset, he’s got good quality in wide areas, he’s a good physical presence in both boxes and can have good delivery,” Skelton said. “It’s great to have him back.”

Skelton also commented on the decision to leave Jordan Gibson out of the starting line-up.

The sub replaced Clough and scored United's late consolation goal.

"He’s played a lot of football which is why he didn’t start but he was always going to be involved in some way," Skelton said.

"We’ve got a big week and he’ll be in contention.

"When he gets the ball it always feels like something might happen. He can drop the shoulder or take someone on, and that isn’t the first time he’s scored late in a game. That’s credit to him."