Carlisle skipper Paul Thirlwell could return to the squad for the Cumbrians' home league clash with Stockport.

Thirlwell stepped off the bench for the last 20 minutes of last week's defeat at Brentford following an Achilles injury, but was rested for the midweek win at Leeds in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and Richard Offiong (both knee) had successful run outs for the reserves this week and could also come into contention.

Manager Greg Abbott has no new injury or suspension problems, but midfielder Michael Burns has joined Blue Square North side Stafford Rangers on loan for a month.

Long-term absentees David Raven (hip), Andy Cook (foot) and Gavin Rothery (double hernia) remain sidelined as Carlisle look to get back to winning ways in League One.

Stockport boss Gary Ablett will again be without midfielder David Poole.

Poole serves the second game of a three-match ban but Ablett has no other major concerns as his side seek to end a horrendous run of 12 straight defeats.

Utility player Matty McNeil has left Edgeley Park just a month after re-joining the club on a one-month deal in December.

But Ablett was boosted earlier this week after he sealed deals for MK Dons quartet Danny Swailes, Richie Partridge, Jemal Johnson and Jabo Ibehre and Colchester's David Perkins.

All five made their debuts for County in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat by Swindon and Ablett said: "I'm delighted to have brought in some new faces."

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