Carlisle United coach Steve Collis insists the Blues have plenty of strong competition in the goalkeeping department.

Boss Chris Beech has three potential No1s to choose from in Paul Farman, Marcus Dewhurst and the currently-sidelined Magnus Norman.

The more experienced Farman has got the nod in United’s opening games – a 3-1 defeat to Fleetwood and 3-0 loss at Oldham in respective cups.

But promising Sheffield United loanee Dewhurst is pushing for his first Blues appearance, with ex-Fulham man Norman on the comeback trail following a knee injury.

Goalkeeping coach Collis said: “[The competition] will be strong, and that’s exactly what you want and what I want.

“It’s something I’m really pleased about that we’ve got three good goalkeepers at this moment in time.

“Marcus is coming from the Premier League, and Sheffield United think very highly of him. He’s been involved in the England set-up with the Under-19s and is an exciting young goalkeeper at the very start of his career.

“Magnus is slightly further on in his career but still very much at the early stages.

“Then you’ve got Paul who’s got a lot of experience but still has a long way to go in his career, I believe.

“He’s 31 but who’s to say he doesn’t have another five, six, seven years, maybe more?”

Collis, 39, said ex-Stevenage man Farman was “probably the stand-out goalkeeper in the league last year”, while of teenager Dewhurst, who joined after Norman suffered his injury, he added: “He’s someone we know well after his loan last season.

“He’s an exciting young goalkeeper. His attitude is great and he likes to work hard in training. I work him hard and he still gets back up and does everything that is asked of him.”

Collis, who linked up with United earlier in the year before his move was made official, is a former colleague of boss Chris Beech from their time at Rochdale.

The former Yeovil keeper says he will continue to bring some clear principles to the role.

“I think it’s just work ethic, really,” said the man brought in after the departure of Craig Wight.

“I like to think you can push them to the maximum because if you do, you can see how far you go.

“I think with Magnus, Marcus and Paul, the work we do on the training ground is extremely important for matchdays.

“What also excites me is looking at the youth team set-up as well. Young Isaac [Robinson] trains with us most days now, and we’ve got two exciting first years in Gabriel [Breeze] and Scott [Simons], who I’m going to try and integrate into the sessions as much as I can – I think it’s important for them to acclimatise to an adult, professional environment.”

Collis said Norman is expected back in training in the next couple of weeks with an aim to return to action in early October.

The coach said: “He [Norman] thinks he picked the injury up at the very start of pre-season but he continued training and played three or four 90-minute games without any reaction.

“After the Gateshead game there was a lot of swelling in his knee and Ross [Goodwin, physio] had a look at it and wanted to get it scanned.”

Collis said he will pass on the benefit of his playing and coaching experience as he bids to oversee a successful goalkeeping unit at Brunton Park.

He said: “I started as an apprentice at Watford before moving on to Barnet. I had a spell at Nottingham Forest then I signed for Yeovil which is where I really started my career in terms of playing games.

“I went to Southend after that and had a few loan spells, but towards the end of my career I was always looking towards the coaching side of it. My first coaching role was at Rochdale which is obviously where I met Chris. 

“We had a successful time together at Rochdale and I think it was about six years that we worked together. We know each other well, so when he asked me to come in last season I was more than happy to do that. We bounce ideas off each other and we know how each other works, and I think that works well.

“We know each other, we’ve got the same beliefs and things like that. It’s extremely important when you work in quite a high-pressure environment that he trusts me, and we’ve got similar experiences that we can use together.”

Collis believes Carlisle’s status as a football outpost could be to their benefit.

He added: “It’s a fantastic club. I think it’s got unbelievable potential.

“My time at Yeovil, in terms of location, is probably similar to the unique sort of situation at Carlisle. That can only be something we can look to use and benefit us.”

The coach admits United need to put on a tighter showing when they start their league campaign today.

He said: “The first couple of games have been disappointing in terms of goals conceded, but the good thing with football is you very quickly get a chance to put it right and bounce back.

"That’s what we’ll be looking to do against Cambridge.”