Coach Gavin Skelton, who has rejoined Carlisle United, did not sign a contract with Workington Reds before his shock u-turn, it has been claimed.

The Cumbrian's return to Brunton Park in his previous academy job was today confirmed by the Blues.

It followed Skelton's two-game, six-day spell at Workington's helm before he resigned at the weekend.

Carlisle director of football David Holdsworth said Skelton had had a "change of heart" and United were delighted to welcome him back.

He also said Skelton was free to make his decision as he had not put pen to paper at Borough Park.

"Gavin, over Christmas saw an opportunity [to go to Workington]... he went down there, and he had a change of heart," Holdsworth said.

"Gavin’s now back as our [development] phase coach, back inside the club, and we’re delighted.

"Gavin’s very happy to be back. He had a change of heart, which happens in football. He spoke to the Workington chairman and gave him his honest assessment of things - that’s what Gavin has told me.

"Whilst he hadn't signed a contract he was free to do whatever he wanted to do.

"We didn’t want to let him go [in the first place] and we are delighted he’s back."

Holdsworth would not comment on the fate of any compensation paid by Workington to Carlisle under the initial deal which took Skelton to Borough Park.

Reds chairman John Mackay said Skelton's u-turn was a "kick in the teeth" after the Evo-Stik Premier Division club's 1-1 draw at Stafford.

"I am devastated. Everyone was just shell-shocked when I told them what had happened," he said.

"I spent most of Christmas on the phone talking to Carlisle United, Gavin and my own directors in an effort to thrash out a deal.

"I was determined for it to go through. Gavin had been identified as the man we wanted and everyone at the club was delighted when the appointment was confirmed.

"I feel now as though I have been kicked in the teeth.

"He had said before the game at Stafford that he wanted to see me afterwards, but I didn’t think too much about that. We had already discussed potential player targets.

"Then, afterwards, he said that I wouldn’t like what he was doing and gave me his resignation letter.

"It said that he had realised it wasn’t the job for him and that he was resigning.

"Maybe, I should have thought something was amiss when he told me on Friday that he was going to travel down by car.

"I did think it was unusual for a new manager not to travel with the players to his first away game."