Chris Beech says he would have no reservations about throwing Nick Anderton straight into the Carlisle United side for their home clash with Walsall.

The new Blues left-back’s hour for the reserves on Tuesday was his first outing since October following injury.

Anderton has been building up his match-fitness on his way back from the leg injury, but head coach Beech says the ex-Blackpool defender is a robust character who will be ready to step up if required.

Beech said: “Nick’s the type of lad that will play on with a broken leg. He would suggest he’s ready when he’s not ready. That’s just Nick Anderton, but it’s the sort of character I want.

“Different players are completely different; he’s got an old-school mentality and modern traits, I’m really happy he’s here.

“If you asked Nicky he’ll be telling you already that he’s ready, so I’ll go with Nick on that one.”

Asked if he had to manage 23-year-old Anderton carefully given his shortage of recent action, Beech said: “Possibly. He’s played that game [on Tuesday], he completed about four to five sessions, he did a couple of hard ones with us, and he’s done extra training with Dave [Waldie] our fitness coach as well.

“The match the other day was on a really tough pitch [at Squires Gate], the opponents were young, but you’ve still got to play them and play on it, and run around and do your thing on it – it’s probably more dangerous on that than on a pitch that our groundsman gets up the high standards he does.

“I have no worry in Nick playing, and no worry in Nick not playing in supporting us in getting three points. It’s that character and environment I want to create.”

If Anderton is involved it would be a first-team United debut for the ex-Barrow man, with former Morecambe forward Lewis Alessandra also hoping for a first Carlisle outing.

Defender Max Hunt and frontman Joshua Kayode, meanwhile, are eyeing home debuts.

It has the potential to be a new-look United side but, asked how quickly they can gel, Beech said: “Easy…just do what you’re meant to do.

“If you play you play, take your opportunity, whether you’ve been here 25 years or five minutes.

“That’s your job, to represent that position, to represent this football club and to represent us moving forwards.”

On the injury front, Beech said Mo Sagaf had declared himself fit despite limping off late in Tuesday’s second-string game.

But the United boss admitted Sagaf’s recent injury issues, which have seen recurring ankle problems recur, had been a frustration.

Beech said: “He said he’s alright, but it’s happening too often.

“I told him, I said you’ve got some great support in the media, the media support you very well, and yesterday [on Thursday in training] in his passing, I want it cleaner, crisper.

“He says his ankle’s good. I don’t know. In the game [on Tuesday] he gets going after 30 minutes, plays really well from that point onwards, then limps off with 10 to go. It’s hard to say, ‘Go on then, Mo, go on’.”

Beech said he would be monitoring “a few” other injury concerns in the build-up to the Saddlers’ visit.

But he said defender Jon Mellish was able to return having missed last weekend’s draw at Oldham due to heavy swelling to his eye following a collision in the FA Cup replay against Cardiff.

Beech said: “He’s got a lovely black eye, a proper black eye, it’s superb, best one I’ve ever seen.

“Before the game [against Cardiff] I said, ‘I want stitches, Jon’…when have you last seen a centre-half come off for stitches? When he came off he was looking at me through one eye, but I said, ‘There’s still no stitches….’.”

Asked if he would be able to face Walsall, Beech said: “Yeah. It’s horrendous but he can see. It’s a good one.”