Fin Back most prove his fitness by Friday if he is to be involved in Carlisle United’s FA Cup clash at Leyton Orient.

Manager Paul Simpson said the defender remains “touch and go” after pulling out of last weekend’s game at Cambridge United with a dead leg.

The Blues boss says only if Back can train fully on Friday – something he has not yet ben able to do this week – will he travel with the squad.

“He’s able to do 90-95 per cent of the work, he’s able to run and do short passing stuff, but the minute he tries to extend on a pass he starts to feel where the dead leg was,” said Simpson.

“We’ll give him to the weekend to see how he goes.

“The way it’s looking, if he’s not fit to train on Friday he won’t travel. I just don’t see the point in him coming along and sitting on a train and coach for the number of hours we’re going to do.

“If he’s not fit for Saturday the important thing is to get him fit for the following weekend and have another player available.”

Simpson, meanwhile, says he is struggling to fill the nine-man bench in the cup on Saturday despite confirming that Dylan McGeouch and Paul Huntington are back available after calf injuries.

United are without the suspended pair of Jack Armer and Alfie McCalmont after last weekend’s red cards, with other players still on the sidelines.

Simpson confirmed that left-back Jack Robinson will start on Saturday in Armer’s absence.

News and Star: Jack Robinson will start at Orient, Simmo saysJack Robinson will start at Orient, Simmo says (Image: Ben Holmes)

The Blues boss, meanwhile, should have top scorer Jordan Gibson available despite the midfielder being away from the club this week for the birth of his daughter.

The Carlisle boss said: “I think he had a troubled night last Friday because we were caught in a bit of a dilemma as to whether he needed to go on Friday.

“It was [my son] Jake’s birthday last Friday, and I missed Jake’s birth because I was told I had to play on the Saturday afternoon away at Watford, and he was born at five to three. I will never put any player through that.

“I told Jordan on Friday ‘You need to go home, you can’t afford to miss this, it’s too important’. He said ‘I want to stay and play, I’ll be ok’.

“Whether he was ok I can’t really answer that but he went back after that. The labour has carried on over the weekend and into Tuesday evening so [his partner] has had a bit of a tough time, but thankfully [she and the baby] are ok now.

News and Star: Jordan Gibson became a father for the first time this weekJordan Gibson became a father for the first time this week (Image: Richard Parkes)

“Jordan has been doing some work back at home, physical work because he can’t have a touch of the ball, but we’ll get him back in on Friday and see whether he’s in the right frame of mind to play.

“I would imagine he’s going to be absolutely buzzing, if [his experience is the same as] my experience of becoming a new dad. It’s just whether he’s right to play on Saturday.”

Simpson said that, although midfielder McGeouch was short of match fitness, he would be involved in east London. “We’re allowed nine subs and we can’t actually fill that bench at the moment,” he said.

“We’ll be going short of the full bench, but Dylan is certainly in the squad for this weekend.”

United’s boss said Jack Ellis’s recovery from injury suffered another setback this week. “He’s tried to train to start building up his work but he’s pulled out after a point, so we’re going to have an injection put into his hip/groin area to see if that can sort that problem out.”

Taylor Charters, Simpson added, “has trained really well this week” and he is hoped to be available after two more weeks of work.

United, meanwhile, are awaiting confirmation on whether Reading will allow loan goalkeeper Jokull Andresson to be in Carlisle’s squad for the FA Cup.

News and Star: United are awaiting a decision from Reading on the availability of Jokull Andresson for Saturday's FA Cup squadUnited are awaiting a decision from Reading on the availability of Jokull Andresson for Saturday's FA Cup squad (Image: Ben Holmes)

“When we signed Jokull on loan, Reading wouldn’t give us permission to play in the FA Cup. They said they would make the decision nearer the time,” said Simpson.

“We’re trying to get a decision. We’ve just been told [on Wednesday] there’s nobody in the club to make that decision…they said we’ll get an answer tomorrow.”

United’s other loan players are allowed to play for the Blues in the competition, Simpson added, with Luke Plange, Terry Ablade and Back – if fit – eligible to be in the squad.

Simpson, meanwhile, has granted Eastleigh permission to play Blues loan midfielder Jayden Harris in the FA Cup this weekend.

The Spitfires take on Boreham Wood on Saturday.

Simpson said: “He’s allowed to play. He needs games.

“Last weekend he had the disappointment of being subbed after 25 minutes. I’ve watched their game back and I’ve had a conversation with their manager as well.

“This is an opportunity for Jayden to learn how to play football on a proper stage. It didn’t happen for him last week so if he’s picked this week he’s got to show everybody what he’s all about.”