United boss Chris Beech spoke to us about his retained and released list, and offers to be made, shortly after the news had been released on the official website this afternoon.
“Echoing what Nigel [Clibbens] and David [Holdsworth] have said about the group of players, we want to thank them for the work they’ve put in since I arrived at the club just before Christmas.
“Their positive attitude and approach allowed me to do my job, which was to make sure that this club got away from the potential relegation situation it was faced with. To go from that, where we had just a five-point gap, to seeing us some 20 points clear of it now is testament to the hard work and commitment shown by the players.
“The club has supported us collectively along the way, and that’s why we were able to push on and get the performances and points we needed at a time when everybody needed a lift. That’s why it’s important for me to thank them all, and wish them well, whether they’re staying with us or moving on.”
“Following the pandemic, it’s made people slow down a bit and look at what’s really important,” he continued. “I’m mindful in everything I do of the fact that we must represent our community and our supporters who, as I’ve already seen, really do enjoy watching players who are committed to their club.
“Win, lose or draw they support us, and that commitment is the minimum we must look to produce every time we go onto the pitch. Once we’re back to playing games, with our fans cheering us on, I want us to be producing performances for them consistently and without question.”
On the players already under contract for the 20/21 season [Anderton, Guy, Hayden, Hunt, Mellish and Patrick] he said: “These are the players who in some cases we brought in during the January window, and the backing received from the club to do that was fantastic.
“Nick and Omari made a strong impact, and I know that will continue and grow, and we also know that Callum is an extremely talented player who is raring to go after picking up such an unfortunate injury.
“Max Hunt is another I’m looking forward to working with and he’s aware of what it is we’re looking for as we go on from here.
“With Aaron Hayden, he showed very quickly that he was ready to take his opportunity and he’s a player who is improving all the time – but I do think there is still a lot more to come from him, and he knows that, which is why we moved to commit him to a longer deal shortly after I took over.
“We’ve chosen to activate the option clause in Jon Mellish’s contract, so he’ll be staying with us. Being honest, he’d had an inconsistent season before I arrived, but my observations on his ability to run with the ball and his strength in tackling and heading led me to push him into midfield, and from that we saw a completely different player.
"I posed the idea to him ahead of a reserve game in which he went on to score a hattrick. He’s now at a place where he can look to utilise his skills and really progress. To be fair to him he should have had a few goals from the three games he played in midfield, and I’m sure that will come if he keeps working hard, because he’s very adaptable.
“What people might not know is that he covered more ground than any other player in those games. He has a natural ability to want to run and move and the midfield area suits him because of that.”
Alongside that, an offer has been made to forward Lewis Alessandra, with offers to come for midfielder Jack Bridge and defenders Gethin Jones and Byron Webster.
"On this part of things, I've worked very closely with my staff, and with David [Holdsworth] and Gav [Skelton] in particular," he explained. "I've had a lot of conversations and important discussions with them and I'd like to thank both of them for their input and advice.
“Every out-of-contract player will find themselves in the same position at the moment as the industry remains in a really difficult financial situation, so it’s actually a massive compliment for a player to get an offer with so much uncertainty around.
“We’re very grateful that the club has been able to pay all of the players their wages through this pandemic, and I’m very pleased that the club has looked to support me in how I want to do things, even with us not knowing until today when or if this season would restart, or when next season will kick off.
“It goes without saying that with any contracts we offer going forward we are going to have to be prudent, at the same time as looking to make sure this football club is competitive on and off the pitch so that we can continue to look towards getting back to where we all want to be.”
“With the four offers made, Gethin has been a consistent performer and always gives a committed display,” he told us. “I’ve spoken at length to him about the technical aspects of his football, and he’s one who has played in the Championship and who is looking to establish himself again.
“He’s started to put roots down in Carlisle since his Everton and Fleetwood experiences and I’d like to think that he’ll want to continue his good work with us, because I still believe there’s another 25% to get out of him yet.
“Lewis is a very professional man and he has an excellent work ethic. He’s another very technical player with a good understanding of the game, and of this level. He brings a great attitude and composure to the changing room and he’s someone the younger players will be able to look up to.
“On the pitch he adds to our attacking prowess and he’s a player who I know has the know-how and experience that will help us to win League Two games.”
“Jack Bridge was playing regularly in the early part of the season and he showed great grit and determination to me when he was left out of the squad,” he added. “He was excellent in a reserve game at Blackpool, where he scored a wonderful goal, and it showed me that he had that bit of fight in him that I was looking to see.
“When we looked at playing him wider I found him to be a very tidy ball carrier and very good in his one-versus-one situations. Again, I had a long conversation with him, and he knows my thoughts and is receptive to growing with us.
“He’s a player where we need to look to add last third assists, crosses and shots at goal to his game and that will help him to add to the second part of his career at his age.
“In Byron Webster we have a very experienced player, and I know he was criticised through the early part of the season. The defence in general was taking a lot of blame for the number of goals conceded, the performances and the defeats, and they all had to deal with that.
“You need experience in a team, but you also need people who will go against normal traits and trends and add a bit of an edge. Byron was in a defence that was conceding goals and I know he wasn’t enjoying that at all.
“We changed our style and some of the personnel and we managed to concede less, and I think everyone agreed that he became a leading performer within that period.
“His presence and the advice he gave to the likes of Gethin and Aaron allowed us to become a better team as a whole, with improved results because of better performances.
“He was part of that, in a solid back line which took us to an average of 1.6 points-per-game. Previously the average had been just over one. Multiply that over 46 games and you’re around the play-off places.
“The settled back four we had after January were resolute and productive in defending and it would be good to retain his experience at the heart of our defence. He’s fit, he has a young mind and body, and I think he’s one who can play well for a number of years to come, if he wants to.”
We'll have more from the manager on the official website later today.