Carlisle United said they never intended to let star man Jamie Devitt go after the transfer window closed with the midfielder still a Blues player.

Fans had feared the Cumbrians might lose the Irish schemer after his impressive displays so far this season.

The fact Devitt's contract is up in the summer also led some to wonder if he could depart.

Carlisle, though, stressed early in the window that it would take an "almighty" bid for them to part with the 28-year-old.

No such move materialised, and director of football David Holdsworth said tonight: "We were never going to let Jamie go."

His retention for the 16-game run-in will come as a relief to fans - and a boost to Carlisle's promotion chances.

The playmaker has scored nine goals and contributed several assists so far.

Earlier in January Holdsworth suggested the club would like to open talks over a new contract once the winter transfer window had closed.

“Jamie is certainly someone we’ve identified as someone we’d like to keep at the club," he said at a recent press conference.

“But we won’t be doing that [discussing terms] whilst the window is open.

“We like Jamie and want him to stay here. We’ll do everything we can to keep the squad as happy and with as much continuity as we can."