New signing Michael Kelly could get his first outing for Carlisle United tonight.

Manager Paul Simpson is weighing up whether to include the goalkeeper in the Blues’ XI that will take on Gretna in a friendly.

It could be a first opportunity to impress for the Irish player whose move from Bray Wanderers was confirmed by United on Saturday.

Kelly, 26, has joined to provide competition for No1 Tomas Holy.

READ MORE: What did we learn from Carlisle United's opening-day win over Crawley Town?

On the chance of an outing at Raydale Park tonight, Blues boss Simpson said: “Possibly. I need to try and decide – there’s a fine balance between giving players some game time and also making sure our training with our starting group is right as well.

“Him [Kelly] and Gabe [Breeze] might get 45 minutes each which will mean they can both train on Tuesday morning with us and go and play at night.

“We’ll wait and see on that, see how they both are.”

News and Star: Kelly has joined Carlisle from Bray Wanderers (photo: Amy Nixon)Kelly has joined Carlisle from Bray Wanderers (photo: Amy Nixon)

Simpson says he was impressed by Kelly’s determination to earn a chance with United.

The keeper had trained with the squad last week before the Blues handed him a one-year deal.

“Paul Gerrard [United’s goalkeeping coach] got a phonecall from one of his contacts, to say he’s worth a look,” Simpson said.

“We’ve done that, had him watched, seen all the clips and we asked if he could come in and train with us just to see how he compares with what we’ve got.

“Thankfully he just said, ‘Look – I’ll pay for my own flight to come over’. He did that and hired a car over from Newcastle to come and show us what he can do.

“We had to agree a small nominal fee with Bray, but the whole deal works out really well for us as a football club.

“It’s a really good deal for the club, but it’s not a great deal for him – but he’s said, ‘I’ll take it and show you I deserve something better’.

“The challenge for him is to show us that, and it gives us really good competition with Tomas, and gives him that support in training.

“We’ve had it with Gabe but I just felt we needed someone a bit more experienced, a bit more of a unit of a goalkeeper to be in there.

“He’s a man. He's not a kid. He’s an experienced keeper, he’s got a really good personality, he's really bubbly and hyped up and wanting the opportunity.

News and Star: Paul Simpson (photo: Barbara Abbott)Paul Simpson (photo: Barbara Abbott)

“Hopefully he’s able to go and grab it.”

Kelly was on the bench for the first time for United’s opening-day League Two victory over Crawley Town.

He joined United after spells with Irish clubs Bray, Longford Town, Cabinteely, Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Cherry Orchard.

Kelly is the eighth player to sign for the Blues this summer.

Simpson added: “All signings are a gamble – this is a gamble because he’s never played over here but he has to show he deserves to, just like Gabe needs to show us he can come into the squad as well.

“It’s a challenge for everyone to show us they’re worthy of a place in the group.”

Simpson is weighing up how many of his first-team players to involve in tonight’s game at Gretna.

The United boss is keen not to run the risk of more injuries to a depleted squad, but is also eager to give some players game time.

Those who either did not play against Crawley or who made sub appearances – such as Jack Ellis, Nic Bollado and Corey Whelan – could be in line for outings.

“It’s a difficult one because, at the time we played Livingston in Largs, I was looking at it and thinking that I was really happy with the group,” he said. “I was thinking that we would have players who were going to need the game.

“We’re now going to have to wrap them up in cotton wool.

“I think some will play, because I think they need to stay on top of their game. I’ve had a skeleton squad up on the board in my office, but that may change.”

Kick-off at Gretna is 7.30pm. Entry is £8 or £6 for over 65s.