Carlisle City v Sandbach United - Match off due to a waterlogged pitch

Manager Jim Nichols is keen for Carlisle City to start on the front foot in the first leg of their two-legged semi-final against Sandbach United.

Should this afternoon’s match (3pm kick-off) beat the weather with a 9am pitch inspection planned, City have home advantage today, before the decisive second leg against Sandbach, eighth in Hallmark Security League First Division South, currently scheduled for next Saturday.

“Yeah, it’s a massive game,” said Nichols. “We know we have a decent side out this weekend and we want to give ourselves the chance of getting ahead in the first leg, as we know the second leg is going to be tough away from home.

“We’d like to get ourselves ahead and give ourselves a chance in the second leg. We can’t do anything about the weather – we’ll prepare right as if the game [today] is going to go ahead and, if it does, we’ll be in the best shape we can be.

“We want to go into the second leg with something to hold on to. If we go there chasing the game, it could end up being particularly difficult.

"If it’s 0-0 at the end of today’s first leg, there’s no reason why we can’t go there and nick a result, although it’ll, obviously, be easier if we give ourselves a bit of a cushion and a bit of an advantage but – if not – we have full confidence we can get a result.”

Nichols says he has plenty of options. 

He said: “We are really, really strong. I don’t feel like there is any concerns around the side at all, we have a good, strong side.

"We have selection problems more than anything, because we have too many which is a nice problem to have. I think we will need to pick our squad wisely and some may be left out the 16, but you’d rather be in that position than on the flipside where you haven’t got enough. We have a good, strong, squad and we will do everything we can to make sure we get a result.”