Defender turned midfielder Jon Mellish has committed his future to Carlisle United having put pen-to-paper on a new deal which keeps him at Brunton Park until at least the summer of 2022 [with an option for a further year at that point].
The 22-year-old initially joined the Cumbrians on a one-year deal midway through May 2019 but, having been converted to a midfield berth by manager Chris Beech, he showed a natural affinity to the role and the club activated a trigger to take him through to the end of the current season.
He penned his new deal ahead of the home game against Barrow on Saturday, and he went on to put in a man-of-the-match performance as he bagged the first-half winner in what was an entertaining encounter.
Manager Chris Beech said: “It’s pleasing to see Jon extend his relationship with the club.
“He’d moved into his option year and this now brings him into line with most of the other players in terms of contract time to run, adding continuity as the football club requires it.
"Traditionally clubs deal with this kind of thing at the end of the season, but in some cases that can be too late as circumstances change. We didn't want that to be the case with Jon.
“It also affords Jon with the knowledge and security that he knows what he’s doing, where he’s going, and what he’s trying to achieve for the foreseeable future.”
“From a footballing perspective Jon has come to us from non-league, predominantly as a left-sided centre half," he continued. "We made a switch when I came in as we moved im into midfield, and he’s embraced the role.
“There’s still room for him to grow, and more for him to learn, he knows that, but we’re happy with his progression so far and I’m excited to see him develop in the future.”
On getting the deal done, he told us: "We had this done ahead of kick off on Saturday but I told him that I wanted him to concentrate on the game, and I didn't want any distractions at that point.
"Credit to him, he took his positive energy into his performance and he deserved his goal and the plaudits he received after full time.
"We know - and he knows - the potential that's there for him, and it's about harnessing that ability and doing it consistently as we go on from here. That's why we're all looking forward to continuing that work with him as we go forward from here."
Mellish, a Gateshead College graduate, came through the under-19 system with the Heed and also enjoyed a loan spell with Newcastle Benfield as he cut his teeth in the game.
The left-footed centre-back, who can play a number of roles, made his first-team debut in the final game of the 2016/17 National League season and was subsequently offered a full contract with the club.
He made a total of 58 appearances for his hometown team, scoring twice, and made his debut for the England C squad in a 1-0 victory over the Estonia under-23 side in October 2018.
He picked up the National League’s young player of the year award for the 2018/19 season at a ceremony in London two days before joining the Cumbrians.