Manager Keith Millen has urged new boy Joel Senior to seize his big chance with Carlisle United.

The new signing looks likely to get his first start tomorrow against leaders Forest Green Rovers.

The former Altrincham man’s opportunity comes with fellow right-back Kelvin Mellor facing a lay-off with an ankle injury.

And Senior’s introduction to the starting XI is set to come against League Two’s impressive table-toppers.

Millen said: “If he starts it will be a good challenge for him.

“I think he’s had a couple of little bits now, at Harrogate he came on [in the Papa John’s Trophy], and Tuesday [a substitute outing against Hartlepool] would have settled him down a lot, because you’re gong to be nervous at the start.

“He showed glimpses of what I’ve seen when we brought him into the club. He’s an attacking full-back with good athleticism and quality on the ball.

“He needs to learn more about how I want to defend, and we’re trying to drip that into him slowly rather than too much information.

“He’ll be fine. If he starts, he’s fit enough, strong enough, and has played enough football in his career; it’s not like it’s his first season in football

“I’m expecting good things from him. Until you start him, you don’t know. If he does it will be a good opportunity for him to show us what he can do.”

United have put together a strong defensive record in recent weeks, keeping clean sheets in five of their last seven league games.

That has followed a consistency of selection at the back, with Mark Howard behind a back four of Mellor, Morgan Feeney, Rod McDonald and Jack Armer.

Millen feels that has helped build a more resolute back line.

“There’s definitely an understanding of the principles of how we defend as a team,” he added.

“I think the team have bought into the defending. The frontmen have to do a lot of work defensively too; it’s not just the back four, it’s all the units.

“When we stay compact as a team we look very hard to break down. There were times on Tuesday that when [Hartlepool] had a lot of possession in their own half, we got into a shape and I was standing there thinking, ‘We look well organised and a tough team to break down’.

“That’s brilliant for the players and me – It gives you confidence you can stay in games at times.

“We’ve got to keep doing that, and it will be a real test on Saturday because Forest Green are a very attacking team that are full of confidence, that have got that arrogance, if you like, to say, ‘We are top of the league, we’re gonna score goals’, and they go for it.

“We’ve got to be ready for that. I need to do some work on the video and on the grass, what we can, to try and help us be as solid as possible.

“I still feel with the pace we’ve got in the side that we can be dangerous against anyone. It’s a good test for all of us.”