Nick Anderton says he has joined Carlisle United to help the Blues return to better times, insisting: I’m not here for mediocrity.

The former Blackpool left-back, who signed an 18-month deal last week, believes he can be successful at Brunton Park despite joining in the thick of a League Two survival fight.

Anderton, who came through a reserve run-out against his former club on Tuesday – his first outing since October following a leg injury – says he is up for the challenge.

The 23-year-old also believes Carlisle head coach Chris Beech knew exactly what he was getting when he moved to sign him.

Anderton said: “From years ago, I’ve played against his [Beech's] youth teams, and he knows what kind of player and character I am – I want to win, I don’t want to just be mediocre, I want to be successful.

“It’s about bringing that to the table and around the place.

“He knew about my injury but he has faith in me, as I do myself, about getting back to where I was, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

Anderton joined Carlisle after two-and-a-half years at Blackpool, having joined the Bloomfield Road club after a successful spell at Barrow.

He made 27 appearances for the Tangerines, but impressed in half a season on loan with Pool’s League One rivals Accrington Stanley last term.

His move to Carlisle, meanwhile, comes eight years after Anderton had been targeted to join the Blues’ youth set-up, the defender instead opting for his native Preston.

Recalling the time he almost signed for the Cumbrians’ academy, the defender said: “I was under-15 or 16, and I got the call to come up here and play for the 16s.

“Eric [Kinder] was the youth team manager at the time, I trained, played with the under 16s, trained with the youth team on the Sunday, and then Eric spoke to me and my mum afterwards, and wanted me to come up.

“At the same time, I’d had a call from Preston, so I trained with them, and I’m from Preston, so at that age [coming to Carlisle] didn’t materialise. We’ve had a few jokes about it around the place since I’ve come.”

The left-back believes he is ready for a new start at Carlisle after a frustrating spell at Blackpool, Anderton finding himself out of favour and then suffering the injury in October that interrupted his campaign.

His last first-team appearance was for Blackpool against Carlisle in the Trophy, a 2-1 win for the Cumbrians.

He said: “It’s a fresh start I needed.

“Last season I was on loan at Accrington for six months, and did really well, then got recalled and it just didn’t work out at Blackpool for me – I didn’t play week-in, week-out like I would have wanted to.

“That’s football, stuff like that happens. This is a new start and I’m looking forward to hopefully cementing my place in the side.”

Tuesday’s 3-0 Central League Cup reserve win at Squires Gate was a welcome return to action for the defender and he now hopes to build on that by pushing his way into Beech’s first team as soon as he can.

He said: “I feel like I’m ready whenever. My legs were sore [after Tuesday’s game] but we’ll see what I’m like in training on Thursday, see what state I’m in and how I feel.

“After the injury…I know my body, I’m not going to be stupid with it.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for that. It’s been a while – a few months – since I’ve played a game. It was just important for me to get my fitness in, work hard and get back to what I’ve done for the last few years, just the basics of the game.

“I felt it went well, I came out injury free, my legs were a bit heavy but other than that, not too bad.”

He added: “There were a few times when I put a few challenges in at full force, that’s how I like to play.

“I only left [Blackpool] last week, so I knew a few of their players. I had to put my foot in a few times. I was up for it. As a footballer, all you want to do is play football; when you’re injured, it’s not good. But I’m glad to be back.

“I think mentally and psychologically for me it’s a lot better now, so I can build my fitness up, keep playing games and hopefully get Carlisle up the table.”

Anderton said that, during his time out of favour this season, he ensured he was as fit and ready as possible for his next opportunity.

He said Carlisle’s interest always appealed, in spite of their lowly position in the fourth tier.

He said: “From when the approach came, I had a couple of conversations, and it’s a club I wanted to join.

“The club were interested in me, they approached Blackpool about the move, so as a footballer you like to be wanted as well as playing.

“It’s a platform for me to play football. Any footballer wants to play. The club at the moment is not in the best situation in the table, but it’s January, there are a few new signings, a lot can happen; just because that’s where we are now doesn’t mean that in 19 games’ time that we’re gonna be anywhere near it.

“You put a couple of results together and you’re up four or five places. That’s how football works.”

Anderton also says some former United players at his previous clubs recommended he join the Blues.

He said: “I know a lot of lads who’ve played for Carlisle. I know Brad Potts, Dave Symington – he was in the youth team and I played with him at Barrow. Pottsy loves it here. Mark Cullen, Jamie Devitt…lads I know, they said it would be a good move for me.

“I wouldn’t take it as a gamble. It’s important that I play, but I know I’m not guaranteed to play, so I have to work hard – that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Asked what kind of defender he is, Anderton said: “I like to work hard, put 100 per cent in. As a defender, [it’s about] defending first and foremost, we need to keep clean sheets, get some points on the board and get up the table.

“I’ll always give 100 per cent. I’ve played in non-league, for Barrow; I had to work hard to get a move to League One at the time and I want to bounce back up again.”

Anderton was an unused sub when United drew 1-1 at Oldham last weekend and said he believes the squad at Brunton Park are determined to improve their fourth-bottom predicament.

He said: “I don’t know any of the lads personally from before, but I can see they work hard, first and foremost, and that’s what you need to be successful.

“What’s gone on this season has gone on, the position the club’s in is the position, but I know they want to get out of that and I want to get out of that, and hopefully it will be successful times here next season.

“I’ll give 100 per cent if I’m selected, I’ll throw my body on the line – that’s what’s needed at this stage.”

Anderton also admits he is impressed with the fortunes of his former club Barrow as they top the National League.

He says his spell at Holker Street was vital to his career.

Anderton said: “At 20, I’d had an injury, I left Preston, and I didn’t want to go and play [under] 23s football, I wanted to play first-team football. I didn’t want to get to 23, my age now, and not have played many first-team games and not really have a career.

“Under-23s football works for some players but in my case, the size I had at that age, I knew going to play first-team football was best for me.

“At Barrow, we had a good side, I spent a couple of seasons on loan there and we finished seventh, which now would have got in the play-offs but that wasn’t the rule at the time.

“They’re flying at the moment, I know Scott Quigley the striker, he’s scoring goals, they’ve got the right way of playing and the fans are onside; all the very best for them, I had a great time there.”

On his challenge and deal at Brunton Park now, meanwhile, the defender added: “I know where I am for the next 18 months, know what I’ve got to do and I’m looking forward to being here.

“The days I’ve been here so far have been great, everybody’s great around the place, I’m just looking forward to playing.

“I’m buzzing for it. I know nothing’s easily earned, you have to work hard, that’s just the background I’ve come from. I know I give 100 per cent in games and training and hope to be successful.”