John Sheridan says all Carlisle United’s loan players want to stay at Brunton Park as the Blues approach a crucial stage of the season.

The manager also believes those on short-term deals, such as key defender Anthony Gerrard, are happy at the club ahead of talks over their futures.

Several members of Sheridan’s squad are approaching decision-time both from United and their parent clubs, with deals up at the turn of the year.

On the loan front that means Ashley Nadesan, Jack Sowerby, Jerry Yates and Adam Campbell, while Gerrard and keeper Louis Gray could have their permanent deals extended.

Sheridan said it was too early to be finalising anything and talks with the loanees’ parent clubs would follow in the coming weeks.

But he said: “I know the feelings of the players, anyway. To be fair, I don’t think I have to ask them if they want to stay – I think they want to stay.

“It’s [about] the respective clubs and the right time to go and approach them.

“The good thing about all the players, whether loans or those who are out of contract at Christmas, is that they’re all very happy here.

“It gives me a good chance of agreeing and coming out confident that they want to stay.

“There are one or two things we’ll have to sort out with the likes of Gerrard but I’m confident they’ll all be sorted out.”

On the loanees, Sheridan added: “I’ve got to talk to their clubs. I won’t be doing it just yet - I still feel as though I’ve got a couple of weeks to play with, and hopefully we will get a couple of good results in that time.

“I know what’s in my head to try and keep and, if we don’t keep them, who to try and get.

“I know they’re all very happy here, and that’ll give me a good chance of keeping them.”

Sheridan also hopes United can put themselves in a better league position as those talks approach.

The 11th-placed Blues can inch into the top 10 if they beat Forest Green at Brunton Park tomorrow.

The Cumbrians’ form has improved recently with three wins out of their last four games in all competitions.

The manager wants to maintain that progress ahead of a busy spell, with United facing a league trip to Notts County next Tuesday before the following weekend’s FA Cup second round clash at Lincoln.

Sheridan said: “We’re on a little run and we know we’ve got to play a bit of catch-up and get points on the board quickly coming into the busy Christmas period.

“The league table will start panning out a bit. Games come thick and fast and you can pick points up and find yourselves in a healthy position.

“If we can stretch this little run to seven or eight games we’ll find ourselves closer to the teams above us.

“I’d like to be in and around the play-off positions leading up to Christmas. If you’re there, and can add one or two players to make us better, you’ve got a good chance.”

Sheridan confirmed that Kelvin Etuhu is fit to return to the squad tomorrow but Danny Grainger (calf) is unlikely to be involved, with Tom Parkes a further week away.