Paul Simpson is set to involve a host of first-team squad members in Carlisle United’s first Central League Cup game today.

The Blues head to Fleetwood Town this afternoon for their first competitive reserve game of the campaign.

And manager Simpson will use the match to give important minutes to a number of players on the fringe of the first team.

That means likely outings for players such as Michael Kelly, Jack Ellis, Sonny Hilton, Corey Whelan, Jack Stretton and Duncan Idehen.

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Some of United’s younger players are also likely to be involved against Fleetwood, whose first team manager is former Celtic and Scotland star Scott Brown.

Simpson said a competitive outing will be important for players who need it.

News and Star: Michael Kelly is among the Carlisle players like to get an outing todayMichael Kelly is among the Carlisle players like to get an outing today

“It’s a chance for them to keep their match fitness which is really important,” Carlisle’s manager said.

“If they go about it properly and do the work properly, we can’t replicate that in training.

“It’s in-game decisions you need and that’s what you get from that. I’m quite sure it will be a really good test.”

Carlisle, who reached the final two seasons ago, are in northern Group A with Fleetwood plus Championship side Blackpool and League One outfit Accrington Stanley.

Fleetwood have said they will field their Under-23 side in the game, which kicks off at 1pm at the home side's Poolfoot Farm training complex.

It is the only week this month when United do not have a midweek first-team game.

Simpson said ensuring as many of his players as possible are in peak condition is important.

“After this week we’ve got Tuesday night games for the next few weeks, so it’s a case of just freshening them up again,” he added.

“A lot of players had minutes last Tuesday [in the Papa John’s Trophy against Manchester United Under-21s] and have another opportunity [today].

“Then games will come thick and fast over the next few weeks that we need everybody to be right and available for.”