News & Star column 21.01.21

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The Blues face a game every four days until the end of the season with a fixture pile-up threatening to put pressure on their promotion push.

That’s both an exciting and worrying prospect for supporters who have seen the season stalled for 10 days by a Covid outbreak at Brunton Park.

Football has been an escape valve for fans during the pandemic and many will eagerly look forward to following the team twice a week.

But over the long haul one wonders what affect the punishing schedule will have on the players’ fitness and performance levels.

United will still have 25 games to play when they return to action, hopefully, at Newport on Tuesday – probably four more than some of their rivals.

With regular Covid testing now taking place throughout League Two it is likely there will be even more postponements. The EFL’s (English Football League) insistence there will be no extension to the season, due to finish on May 8, will come under increasing pressure.

There is no doubt the Blues young squad will be pushed to the limit. Head coach Chris Beech will try to strengthen and boost numbers before the end of the January transfer window and every player will be needed.

It looks like being one of the tightest promotion races for years. Fortunately, we haven’t lost much ground at the top of League Two despite not playing since January 2.

Only five points separate the top seven sides and any team in the top half of the table still has eyes on an automatic promotion spot.

United fans will also be aware that, like many, the club’s finances have been put under stress by the pandemic and supporters groups have been told of a loss of income in excess of £1m. The club continues to work hard to deal with it.

During ‘lockdown’ the best way to support the Blues is by watching on iFollow with the club receiving £8 from every £10 home match subscription.

You can also back CUOSC’s and the club’s ‘Face in the Crowd’ joint initiative. It gives you a chance to be in Brunton Park in spirit with your ‘cut-out’ displayed in the Pioneer Stand.

 The cost is £25 with profits going into the Carlisle REUnited fund. To find out more or to place your order go to: www.faceinthecrowd.store