Paul Simpson will mix things up tonight as Carlisle United bid to stay in the Papa John’s Trophy.

The Blues boss plans to give outings to a number of players on the fringe of his first team (Brunton Park, 7.45pm).

Simpson says he will continue to take the competition seriously and wants United to progress.

But he will balance that aim with the need to give important first-team minutes to a number of players who were not involved in Saturday’s league game.

The likes of Jayden Harris, Jack Stretton, Sonny Hilton, Corey Whelan, Michael Kelly, Duncan Idehen, Jack Ellis and Taylor Charters could be among those in line to feature.

It is Carlisle’s second northern group G game in the controversial competition.

News and Star: Jayden Harris, left, is among the players who could get an outing tonight (photo: Barbara Abbott)Jayden Harris, left, is among the players who could get an outing tonight (photo: Barbara Abbott) (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Manager Simpson said: “We want to win. I’m also aware that I’ve got to give everybody a game and keep everybody right.

“In this run that we’ve got coming with the midweek games we have to keep everybody up to speed.

“It gives us the opportunity to get players up to match speed, but some who played on Saturday will have to go again tonight.

“I want to win it because I want to keep the momentum going.”

Victory against Scott Brown’s visitors will keep the Blues’ hopes alive in the trophy, but defeat would effectively end their hopes of group qualification.

It follows their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United’s Under-21s in the first group game.

That fixture attracted the biggest group stage attendance – 3,331 – at Brunton Park since the controversial introduction of top-flight clubs into the trophy in 2016.

A smaller gate is expected tonight, with some fans continuing to boycott over the Premier League’s involvement in what was previously a standalone lower-league cup.

Fleetwood are also expected to make wholesale changes and involve a number of their under-23 players.

Simpson said the need for all players to remain fully up to speed for first-team action is paramount.

“The important thing is they’re getting the match minutes in,” he said.

“I want them to do everything they possibly can so that when they’re opportunity comes in a league game they’re ready, they’re fit, they’re strong enough, they’re clear in their mind about how they play, and also when their opportunity comes, they’ve shown me in the games against the likes of Fleetwood [reserves] they’re capable of going in and performing.

“I’m seeing it in training, their attitude is absolutely first class.

“We’d had an in-house 11v11 game when the Harrogate game was called off with the death of the Queen. It was a really good standard, and that’s what we have to have.

“One to 11, the starters in the league game, takes care of themselves. It’s the 12 to 22-23-24 who have to make sure they’re right and we keep looking after them.”

News and Star: Ex-United frontman Joe Garner is in the Fleetwood ranks (photo: PA)Ex-United frontman Joe Garner is in the Fleetwood ranks (photo: PA) (Image: PA)

Fleetwood’s first team sit 11th in League One, with the likes of ex-Carlisle star Joe Garner in their squad.

Simpson added: “I think it’ll be a tough game. They’ve got some good players.

“Out out of their [squad of] 18, they had one player from the previous league game who played in their last Trophy game. I imagine they’ll make changes.

“It’s a good competition to be involved in.”