Jim Nichols is looking forward to a run of home matches, with Carlisle City targeting a fifth-placed Hallmark Security League First Division North finish.

After this afternoon’s trip to Daisy Hill (3pm kick-off), the Sky Blues will have four successive games at the D Marks Carpets Stadium, before they end their campaign at Lower Breck.

City begin their run of home fixtures against Steeton next Tuesday, before clashes against St Helens Town (April 20), Shelley (April 22) and Cumbrian rivals Cleator Moor Celtic (April 25).

Nichols said: “We have a lot of games here. It’s, obviously, not a great place for some teams to travel to.

“It’s two or three hours for some of them. We know the qualities we have got in the squad.

“In the last couple of weeks, we have had issues in terms of getting a squad out, but I think Carlisle City have had that problem all season, not just in my time here. We have looked to bring new boys in to add to the squad.

"And if people came to watch on Tuesday night [in their 5-4 home win against Ashton Town], they would have been pleased with the football that we have played in spells. They can’t knock what the lads have given for the club, maybe just a couple of sloppy goals have given them a way into the game.”

After an extraordinary match in midweek, Nichols’ men eventually came out on top with Rob McCartney scoring a hat-trick, including a late penalty which settled the nine-goal thriller.

“It was like a game of tennis, wasn’t it? It was literally end to end,” said Nichols.

“Rob did really, really well. His second goal was brilliantly taken. He has turned the lad inside out and he has finished it brilliantly in the bottom corner.

"Since I took over, he has seven in nine. He seems back to the player that he was at the start of the season when he was absolutely unplayable.

"To be honest, I think we had a threat going forwards with the two young lads [brothers Jordan and Ben Palmer who have recently signed from Shap]. They maybe tired a little bit, it’s their third game at this level in a week, having been playing Westmorland League football.

"But I thought both of them acquitted themselves well, as well."

Meanwhile Daisy Hill, the Sky Blues’ opponents this weekend, are second-bottom of the league table. They have taken 19 points from 34 league fixtures and are six points behind 18th-placed Holker Old Boys.

When the two teams met in November, David Renyard scored twice in a 6-3 City success, with Michael Slack, Marc Shiel, Tyran Taylor and McCartney also on target.