Carlisle United are bidding to overturn Michael Raynes' red card - whilst facing up to another injury blow.

As the Blues lodged an appeal against Raynes' dismissal at Luton it emerged that midfielder Joe McKee has been sidelined for around three weeks.

Boss Keith Curle said the midfielder, who limped out of last Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Mansfield, has suffered a hamstring tear.

That means the Scot is a doubt for United's festive fixtures at a time when the Blues boss has other injury concerns over Mike Jones and Danny Grainger.

A further depleted squad would make a successful appeal against Raynes' sending-off even more welcome.

United challenged the defender's impending three-match ban yesterday having reviewed two different camera angles of the apparent elbowing incident involving Luton's Danny Hylton.

The Blues feel centre-half Raynes did not act with any malice and kept his eyes on the ball throughout the 83rd-minute flashpoint.

Curle said they have "good grounds" for their appeal over the incident, which was spotted by a linesman in Saturday's 1-1 draw after ref Mark Heywood did not initially give a foul.

Raynes will be suspended for United's final three games of 2016 - against Yeovil, Crewe and Notts County - if the appeal fails, with the panel due to sit later this week.

McKee's absence, meanwhile, comes after he limped out of last Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Mansfield.

Curle said: "He's been diagnosed with a grade one tear of his hamstring that's potentially going to be two-and-a-half to three weeks.

"That can seem a long time but relatively speaking, when you're going Saturday to Saturday, it can go quite quickly.

"He rested well - the first 72 hours are important and he's got over that - and now he's working on his rehabilitation."

There is better news on striker Jabo Ibehre, who is believed to be close to a return from a back problem after missing four games.

Curle said: "He was at Luton on Saturday, in with the fans - and he's close.

"We're coming into a period now where it's a risk assessment, and that's been left with [physio] Neil Dalton and [fitness coach] Lee Fearn.

"I back their advice and take on board their professional opinion. He wasn't available on Saturday, so we're hoping more work will give us a closer opportunity to get him back and firing."

Jones and Grainger, both substituted at Luton, will have their knocks assessed today, though Curle has insisted he won't be wrapping the rest of his depleted squad in cotton wool ahead of the busy festive period.

The United manager said: "With the mentality of the group we've got, we've got a work mode we switch into.

"They'll get rested at the right time but when we train, we train in that work mode.

"It's preventative. If you work at the tempo you want to play at, on a consistent basis, your body becomes more conditioned to it.

"There are certain things we won't do, because of the games programme we've got coming up, but as a group we've got a very high, intense workload.

"The players are robust enough to deal with it because of the work Lee and Neil do with them. Our injury catalogue this season has been very good."