Chris Beech feels Carlisle United will face one of League Two’s most consistent sides in Port Vale tomorrow.

The Blues boss expects a tough challenge against a side who were in the play-off race for much of last season.

Vale have a number of ex-United players in their ranks, with Luke Joyce, Mark Cullen, Shaun Brisley, Harry McKirdy and the injured David Amoo.

They also have other players Beech admires – as well as a good manager in John Askey and an off-field set-up he believes is strong.

“They’re very structured, very consistent, and were excellent in terms of progressing last season,” United’s head coach said.

“They’ve got a few ex-Carlisle players, and also David Worrall who I know personally, When I started coaching 17 or 18 years ago, he was the youngest debutant to come through the youth system I was running at Bury.

“He’s very professional and was among the top assists last season in the league.

“They’ve got a good team, good players that know this league and know how to, when they’re not playing that well, still win.

“It’s a beautiful ground and pitch and a fantastic manager – I voted for him last year as the manager of the year because he did unbelievably at Macclesfield in the youth system in terms of picking up the pieces, then got the job as the manager, did great getting them promoted to the Football League, went to Shrewsbury and now Port Vale.

“They’ve got really good owners now [Carol and Kevin Shanahan], they’re paying a lot of money into what they’re doing. They’ve signed players on three-year contracts in the pandemic – it must be great to have that stability and support, and John deserves that.

“They’ve also got a very good chief exec in Colin Garlick who I worked a lot with at Rochdale, he’s very sensible, very good at making football decisions. It’s a good structure to get promoted.”

McKirdy has made two appearances for Vale since joining them last month, after a season at Carlisle which saw the ex-Aston Villa man lead the way in goals and assists.

McKirdy was also involved in some exchanges with fans both at games and on social media.

Asked if the former Blues man would be keen to remind Carlisle what they were missing this weekend, Beech said: “I don’t know. You’d have to ask Harry. I’m sure whatever he’s feeling he’ll probably tweet anyway…”