New manager James “Jim” Nichols will aim to get Carlisle City into the Hallmark Security League First Division Cup semi-final.

Former Penrith AFC boss Nichols, who took charge of the club on Thursday, will immediately get his teeth into a quarter-final at home to Ellesmere Rangers today (3pm kick-off).

Nichols joins City with the Sky Blues sixth in the league, and he says, ideally, he hopes to keep the same group of players together.

“Obviously, the club is in a fairly positive place,” he said.

“But I also know that they have been struggling to get numbers for the last few weeks. Yeah, they’ve had a decent side out but, outside of that, there’s only been about 12 players travelling to certain games.

"I need a couple of weeks to look at exactly what we have got and exactly what we need. Ideally, I don’t want to bring players in. Hopefully, we have enough in the squad and the club overall. 

“I think the players have proven they are good enough, look where they are in the league – they were top not that long ago. We are into a quarter-final. There is obviously quality in the squad. But if we do need to bring a couple in, we will look at doing that.”

Nichols took charge of Penrith in 2016 and led the club to the 2016/17 Cumberland Cup final before resigning in October 2017.

“Since I left Penrith, I went back to Kendal as assistant manager until the end of that season,” Nichols explained.

“Then, I got approached by Cascadia [a proposed country near America] to go and be manager of them. I’m still doing that. 

“It’s a brilliant experience, my captain in the summer was James Riley who has won the MLS a number of times. And we have four or five lads, after playing for us, they have gone on to sign for big, big professional clubs in America. That was a brilliant experience. 

“After the summer, I was looking to be a manager again but there wasn’t an awful lot on, but I got approached out the blue to go and be manager of Mid Annandale which is what I have been doing until now.”

Nichols will be assisted by former Annan Athletic, Gretna and Workington Reds player Alan Inglis. The pair both work at The Gillford Centre, near City’s D Marks Carpet Stadium.

“I’ve known Alan since I was about six. We played football together when we were very, very young. We then led our own career path,” said Nichols. “I then only got back in touch with Alan about a year ago when I was working at the same place at him.

"Alan has had a decent career but, in the last couple of years, injuries have sort of taken their toll on Alan. He’s stopped playing.

"When I mentioned it to him I was coming here, he sounded quite interested. He knows some of the players, and he’s someone I’m speaking to every day at the moment which makes communication easier.”

City’s next league game is at leaders Longridge next Saturday.