Paul Simpson says he’s still “challenging” Carlisle United’s players to be better even as time is slipping away from the Blues in League One.

United are now preparing for an Easter double-header where they will try and delay what looks an inevitable relegation back to the fourth tier.

The Cumbrians go to high-flying Peterborough United on Good Friday before hosting an in-form Lincoln City on Easter Monday.

If results go against Simpson’s side the drop could be sealed over the weekend after a dismal spell of just one win and a draw from their last 14 games.

United’s manager, though, wants his team still to get as much out of the remaining contests as they can.

“We’re preparing for another tough game away from home,” Simpson said.

“Games are going away but I keep challenging the players to finish the season as well as they possibly can – what can we do better, what can we do differently?

"And that’s down to every player.”

News and Star: Darren Ferguson's promotion-chasing Peterborough are next up for CarlisleDarren Ferguson's promotion-chasing Peterborough are next up for Carlisle (Image: PA)

United faced frustration on Saturday when a 96th-mintue equaliser denied them victory over Stevenage.

The 2-2 draw left them 15 points from safety with just 21 left to play for.

It came despite positive spells in the game when Dan Butterworth seemed to have put them on course for victory with an impressive double.

Steve Evans’ side hit back twice late on leaving Simpson highly frustrated and struggling to see the positives.

In reflection, the manager said: “We’ve got to stay positive. We’ve got to keep going, keep riding through this storm and take whatever comes, and make sure we cling on to any positives.

“It’s a massive positive we still got over 7,000 of our supporters, it’s positive we’re still alive and kicking and we’ve just got to keep going.”

Simpson, speaking to BBC Radio Cumbria after the game, was in no mood to discuss the bigger picture at Brunton Park after comments last week from director Tom Piatak II about progress on the training ground and stadium revamp projects.

“There’s a lot to look forward to, and the future of Carlisle United is really positive,” said Simpson. “But on a matchday I want the positivity of a win and [on Saturday I was] really disappointed.”