Chris Beech insists Lewis Alessandra can add “attacking prowess” to Carlisle United’s bid to climb the League Two table.
The ex-Morecambe forward could make his debut tomorrow against Walsall where the struggling Blues are seeking a much-needed victory.
Alessandra joined this morning on a deal until the end of the season after leaving League Two’s bottom side at the end of his contract.
The 30-year-old signed two days after the sale of Hallam Hope to leaders Swindon, and while Alessandra has scored just five goals this season - his last coming in September - head coach Beech believes he will enhance United’s front line.
Beech said: “He is versatile, he can play in any of the front three or four positions.
“He can play deeper too - he can even play as an attacking midfield player.
“Technically he’s very good, very good on the ball, and he’s an excellent finisher, so I see him in one of those attacking roles.
“Lewis is an excellent football player who can add some attacking prowess to our game.”
Alessandra had not figured at Morecambe until late December but Beech said he is looking forward to adding the former Plymouth and Notts County man’s experience to his options.
He said: “I think [him having not played since December] was probably due to his negotiations of not accepting or accepting a contract.
“The manager at Morecambe must have decided…not to play him, but from our perspective it’s great he’s become available and great we’ve had the chat and he’s committed.
“I’m really pleased that again we’ve been backed. It was done very quickly, [director of football] David Holdsworth again was excellent in terms of getting it signed up, and we’ve put him [Alessandra] in a position that he knows he needs to do well to make sure he’s working strongly in professional football next season, that’s good for everybody.
“I know Lewi from the past, he was at Rochdale [when I was there], and I do know what he can bring, and as an older player I know he’s had experiences at different levels of football and he has a responsibility to his game. He will take that responsibility wearing a Carlisle shirt.”
Beech said it was a “clean transfer” which was likely to enable Alessandra to play against his former club when United face Morecambe next month, with Hope similarly able to face Carlisle when Swindon visit Brunton Park.
Such clauses preventing players from facing a previous side are more common in loan deals, although Carlisle have in the past declined to field a permanent signing against the team he had just left, citing a “gentleman’s agreement” when omitting Jamal Campbell-Ryce against Barnet in 2018. There is no suggestion of any such arrangement this time.
Asked what qualities Alessandra would add, Beech said: “He’s gonna bring assists, goals, good techniques. He can change direction very well with the football, he’s intelligent enough to slide somebody in when it’s not necessarily his best choice to shoot, so he makes those good footballing decisions, which is why he’s been a professional footballer for so long.
“I want him to bring those traits and those consistent traits to us.”
Beech added: “He’s an excellent finisher, he’s bright and he’s been a big part of the first half of the season with goals and assists at his previous club, and he’s actually very good at starting goals, which isn’t often logged. That’s because assists are taken as the last pass before a goal, but he’s often had a hand in or been the creator of many goals.
“He brings a wealth of experience, he’s played at a lot of football clubs and he’s scored in different divisions. He’s been part of some really good goals and he’s got good individual goals as well, so who wouldn’t want that?
“We’ve managed to get it, so I’m really pleased for the club, it’s a good opportunity for him, and it’s good to have him come in to support the players we’ve already got.”