Michael Slack is today expected to return for Carlisle City when they host Washington.

Multi-talented Slack, who helped Carlisle Cricket Club win Cumbria Cricket League’s Premier Division title, had a short rest after the end of the cricket season, but should now boost the Sky Blues’ cause for their 2019/20 Northern League, Division Two campaign.

Slack, alongside Rob McCartney, were two of City’s most dangerous forward players last season, and McCartney also seems to be returning towards his best, having scored twice in last weekend’s 3-0 victory at Brandon United and once in their 3-2 loss to Tow Law Town on Tuesday.

Ahead of this afternoon’s match (3pm kick-off), manager Jim Nichols said: “Rob looked back to his best in midweek.

"He missed the start of pre-season because he was with Workington [on trial], and then, he got injured. So, in the first couple of games, he didn’t quite manage to get going.

“He had just started to find form when he got his suspension, so this is probably the first run of games he has had since the end of last season. He looks back to his best and, once he is firing, we know we have a really, really good player at this level."

After 10 league fixtures this term, City are ninth in the league table on 15 points.

“The league is incredibly tight, we are only a point off fourth at the moment and, if I’m honest, I don’t think we have actually been playing that badly in the past couple of weeks [despite having lost three successive games prior to their win over Brandon],” said Nichols.

“I think recently we just haven’t taken our chances and, unfortunately, we have given poor goals away.

“The league is tight so, as soon as you can get your noses in front, I think you quite often go on to win games.

"But, in the past couple of weeks, we have found ourselves behind and given ourselves a bit too much to do.”

Opponent’s Washington are currently 15th but Nichols added: “We were 15th last week, three points off fourth, and now we are up in ninth and a point off fourth.

"So, they are only two points behind us.

"My understanding is that they are quite a young side. I think they are quite fit, have a bit of pace about them, and will try to keep the ball.

"But I’m hopeful that we have the experience and physicality to beat them."