1 – If points make prizes, it is evident that Carlisle do not have nearly enough yet to be considered contenders.

From 12 games they have 14 points. Over a season that would take them to 53: enough to finish in lower mid-table, roughly where they are now (18th, nine points above the solitary relegation place, six shy of the play-offs).

United have won four, drawn two and lost six. The only time they have taken a smaller points tally from their first dozen games in the last decade was in 2014/15: the end of Graham Kavanagh’s reign and the start of Keith Curle’s, when they gathered 12 points.

There is obviously a long way to go, and a volatile fourth tier often defies patterns and predictions. But if United want to make their campaign more interesting, they have work to do.

2 – Carlisle’s opening games and results have underlined a new team’s strengths and limitations.

Against weaker teams, they have gained useful points. Games against Oldham, Scunthorpe and Stevenage – three of the current bottom four – have all produced victories.

Only Mansfield, of the present strugglers, have got the better of the Blues. Their other victory came against 13th-placed Crawley.

It is against higher-fliers where they have come up short. Their five defeats (other than to Mansfield) have come against those in second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh.

Sometimes these were comprehensive (Exeter, Cheltenham), other times narrow (Swindon, Newport). All though, were frustrating in their own way and have increased the gulf between United and the pacesetters.

A painstaking draw against Forest Green was United’s best effort against a team in the front running, while chances missed against lower-ranked Salford cost Steven Pressley’s side two points.

Better than the worst but short of the best would be a fair summary of things to date.

3 – Early on it seemed Carlisle’s attacking was often going to be asked to bail out heavy conceding.

Pressley’s side shipped 10 goals in their first five league games. They scored twice in two of those games and won neither.

Lately, though, things have shifted, United’s manager introducing an extra defender (Gethin Jones), resulting in a little more solidity.

Without George Nurse’s 96th-minute goal at Newport, it would have been three clean sheets in four league games. There are signs Carlisle are learning to protect Adam Collin’s goal a little better. The flipside is they scored just twice in those four games.

Pressley, previously a 4-3-3 devotee, feels a system with three centre-halves now makes the best use of his resources.

At Rodney Parade, this saw a 3-5-2 line-up which, in general play, worked well and looks likely to be repeated. Somehow, the right blend of defensive security and attacking menace must be found.

4 – United’s inconsistency partly reflects the fact an almost entirely new team was assembled in the summer.

Other than Collin and Mike Jones, and with Hallam Hope not yet at full stride after injury and transfer speculation, Carlisle have been fitting new faces into different shapes.

At times things have clicked but the fact their longest winning run is one match tells you they are nowhere near fluency.

Where there is hope, it is in the likes of Mo Sagaf, who had a successful summer trial and has looked combative and adept in midfield. Olufela Olomola, top scorer with five goals, has also been capable up front and looks committed to the task.

Other new faces have had mixed starts. Defensively, the hope is that United’s better recent efforts will restore confidence to a back line that started shakily.

Attacking-wise, Pressley is yet to entrust Harry McKirdy with regular starts despite his positive goals and assists figures. More is being demanded of Nathan Thomas, too.

On these and related issues, there will be those, Pressley included, who feel patience is proper, but others in the fanbase, who are more critical of the general performance levels, who will ask how long it is fair to wait for better – and, given United's spending approach, whether better can indeed come.

5 – Carlisle have not yet shown they have great depth in reserve. Back-up players have still to push through, while others out of the side have ground to make up.

Aaron Hayden has seldom looked close to defensive starts despite United’s early leaks. Jon Mellish began at left-back, rather than his favoured centre-half, and is now out of favour, while loanees Canice Carroll and Elias Sorensen have yet to take their chances (though the latter did score in a better second-string performance yesterday).

Carlisle’s stock of young talent was twice raided by Leeds in the summer, but those still there, such as Jarrad Branthwaite, Taylor Charters and Keighran Kerr have largely been restricted to time in reserve friendlies.

There is, naturally, lots of time in front of teenagers like those. Some older colleagues, though, will have to step up sooner.

6 – Reading the future at Brunton Park is always a challenge. On the optimistic side, Pressley maintains this is still a bedding-in period for such a new team.

Young players without long CVs of first-team football need to be shown understanding, he has often said. With the likes of Sagaf, there is merit in that message. United’s manager is also pleased finally to have some performance analysis interns in the building.

Ideally these will help sharpen Carlisle’s preparation.

Other matters are not so sunny. Home crowds are not picking up and there is plainly some scepticism about performances and where this season can go.

The steering of the club, whether from the long-serving owners, from Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s silent involvement, individual members of the hierarchy or Pressley himself, remains the subject of debate.

Others criticise aspects of the matchday experience. United, clearly, have distance to travel in many areas. In the shorter term, tasks include retaining Olomola despite Scunthorpe’s January recall clause, and ensuring that, for once, a season does not decline after halfway.