Carlisle United are delighted to announce that defender Rhys Bennett has extended his stay with the Blues until the end of the current season.
Bennett, 29, initially joined the club in November and has scored three goals in his 13 appearances, coinciding with an excellent run of results which has seen Chris Beech’s team deservedly climb to top spot.
Speaking this morning, the manager said: “I’m sure this is one of the signings we make in January that will really please our supporters.
“It’s one I’m delighted to get done and it goes without saying that the football club worked incredibly hard to make this happen, and support it.”
“Rhys hit the ground running when he came in,” he continued. “We dropped him straight into our first team environment with him having done limited pre-season work and having had no games of football since February of last year. As we all saw he did ever so well.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’d have brought Rhys in as soon as I could, and that he had higher level plates spinning, but I thought the aptitude he’s demonstrated has set the standard from what we all now expect from him.
“It’s no surprise whatsoever that his short run of games and three goals alerted the attention of other teams, including those in higher divisions than ours, who were itching to step in when his short-term deal in Cumbria finished.
“Rhys is ambitious, he wants to play as high as he can, so when League One sides come calling with higher wages than ours and sitting in the promotion positions, it’s hard to ignore.
“The flip side to that are the relationships he’s built in Cumbria in such a short space of time, the group of lads he sees daily, the rapport he’s got with the staff, and indirectly with the supporters (albeit in the majority it has to be across social media) and the journey we find ourselves on.
“I encouraged our supporters in my post-match interview after Walsall to do all they could, and message him to stay on, and I genuinely believe that’s played a huge part in this happening – so thank you to those who took the time to help us.
“It’s now time to look to the rest of the season. Let’s get Rhys scoring some more goals and continuing to enjoy his football, and shoring things up at the back, and keep us pushing forward on to something special that we can hopefully get to share with together with you, our supporters.
“I, and I’m sure Rhys is included in this, would love to hear a full Brunton Park singing his name after he’s just scored for Carlisle United.”
A strong defender, Bennett can play a number of roles and brings a wealth of experience, having amassed over 300 senior career appearances.
Born in Radcliffe, he cut his teeth as a youngster with Bolton Wanderers where he signed his first professional deal. He spent a productive spell on-loan north of the border with Falkirk before making the switch to join Rochdale in the summer of 2012.
A four-year stay at Spotland saw him make over 100 appearances, but he completed the hop across country in 2016 to join Mansfield Town. He played almost every game for the Stags over a two-year spell, then followed manager Steve Evans to Peterborough in May 2018.
He played 63 games for the Posh before being released at the end of the last campaign.