Carlisle United have appointed former Rochdale assistant manager Chris Beech as their new head coach.

The 45-year-old has signed an 18-month deal to become Steven Pressley's successor at Brunton Park.

Beech's odds tumbled overnight and the coach has now been confirmed to take charge of the fourth-bottom Blues in League Two.

His first game at the helm will be Saturday's FA Cup second round tie at Forest Green.

Beech emerged as United's top choice despite a host of higher-profile names having been linked with the job, such as Michael Bridges, Neil Redfearn, Owen Coyle and Kevin Nolan.

His last role was at Spotland where he was No2 to Keith Hill before the pair were sacked in March.

This will be his first permanent job in charge of a first team.

On Tuesday, Carlisle United said Beech would work with the existing backroom staff, suggesting that caretaker manager Gavin Skelton would remain along with coaches Nathan Rooney and Craig Wight.

They also insisted he would remain in charge of identifying transfer targets despite the club's change of job title from manager to "head coach".

In a statement, Carlisle chairman Andrew Jenkins said Beech would work alongside director of football David Holdsworth on the recruitment side.

Co-owner Jenkins added: “We’re taking a new approach for the club in defining the position, with us in the past having appointed managers.

“We see the head coach role as being specific to the football department, from first team through to youth team. Chris will pick the team, coach the squad and organise the day-to-day routine as he prepares for each game.

“Looking ahead, he will identify the players he feels will enhance the squad and he will then work with the director of football on the recruitment side of the process. The contractual side of that process will be with the director of football, but it will be the head coach who will identify the players he wants to bring in."

Beech faces the challenge of guiding Carlisle away from a relegation battle with the Cumbrians five points above the relegation place in the fourth tier after one league win in eight.

Holder of a UEFA Pro Licence, his playing career started at Blackpool under Sam Allardyce before spells at Hartlepool, Huddersfield and Rochdale.

Jenkins added that Beech wanted to work closely with the youth set-up at United.

He highlighted his "track record" for bringing through young players who were later sold on for significant fees, and replacing them "under budget".