Carlisle United will consider allowing Mike Jones and Richie Bennett to leave in the January transfer window after both expressed a wish to play first-team football.

Midfielder Jones and striker Bennett have been out of the Blues' side in recent weeks.

They have now told the club they want to be playing, according to director of football David Holdsworth.

He said, though, that United would only let them go if any deal was appropriate for all parties - and insisted the Blues were not under pressure to offload anyone.

"Both players have expressed a desire to be playing," Holdsworth told the News & Star.

"Recently they haven't figured in the manager's selection.

"We value them very highly. The club paid money for Richie Bennett, and Mike Jones is a very capable player.

"We will look at both individuals' circumstances as a club if opportunities arise for them to move on, and we will assess them.

"We are in no immediate rush to release anybody and we will only address it if the need arises."

Both Jones and Bennett are among a host of players out of contract at the end of the season.

Former Oldham and Bury midfielder Jones has been an influential player over most of his two-and-a-half campaigns at Brunton Park so far.

The experienced 31-year-old has made 103 appearances, scoring one goal, with 17 outings to his name this season.

He has lost his place, though, since the 2-0 defeat at MK Dons on December 8, United then going on to string together four straight wins.

Bennett, a £50,000 signing from Barrow in summer 2017, has scored four goals in 24 appearances this season and 12 in 71 outings overall.

The big centre-forward's last start came at Lincoln in the FA Cup on December 1, with his last league start as long ago as October 23, also against Lincoln, when he played as a stand-in centre-half.

United have previously said they will allow defender Gary Miller and George Glendon to find other clubs in January as they look at reshuffling their squad for the second half of the season.

The Blues want to secure loan extensions for Jerry Yates and Jack Sowerby, as well as tying Anthony Gerrard to a longer deal.

Boss John Sheridan is also eyeing striker targets as he expects to lose Ashley Nadesan after tomorrow's game at Morecambe.

The manager plans to speak to Adam Campbell about his future, the Morecambe man unable to face his parent club tomorrow and his half-season loan up the following day.