Steven Pressley expects Carlisle United will be “desperate” to extend Jamie Devitt’s contract – but says it is too early for talks.

The Blues manager says he is still assessing every member of his promotion-chasing squad at Brunton Park.

That includes Devitt, regarded by fans as one of Carlisle’s key assets.

Despite speculation over his future, the Irish midfielder remained a Blues player as last week’s transfer deadline passed.

Many supporters now want the club to move quickly to secure the 28-year-old for the longer-term.

Director of football David Holdsworth has previously suggested United would look to hold discussions with Devitt after the transfer window closed, having identified the ex-Morecambe man as someone they want to keep.

Pressley hinted that will happen – but not yet.

“I’m a fan of Jamie,” United’s manager said.

“I can honestly say I’ve had no discussions with the club on our current squad, because the focus since I came in was initially bringing in personnel.

“Also, I’m still early in the job and although I really like Jamie, like the rest of the squad they have to prove their worth to me.

“If that’s the case, then of course [we would look to talk to him].

“He’s the type of player that I like - you can see with my signings that he is in that mould.

“He’s an exciting player. He’s a really good character as well. In time, I’m sure if he continues playing the way he is, we’ll be desperate to keep him.”

Devitt has played an influential role in United’s rise into promotion contention, scoring nine goals and contributing a number of assists.

After he remained a Carlisle player after the deadline, Holdsworth said United were “never going to let him go”.

United’s boss now has a full week to bed in his new signings after their game at Crewe on Saturday fell victim to the weather.

It means last week’s additions Peter Grant, Callum O’Hare, Nathan Thomas and Stefan Scougall have extra time to prepare before possible debuts against play-off rivals Exeter.

Mark Cullen is hoping to join in training too, with defender Gary Liddle also earmarked for a return.

Carlisle lost little ground in the promotion race as a number of League Two games were also postponed on Saturday.

After those that did go ahead, United remained fifth, three points outside the automatic places with a game in hand.

The race for a play-off place has become tighter, with two points separating fourth-placed Forest Green and eighth-placed Colchester, who won 4-0 at Keith Curle’s Northampton.

Third-placed Bury were held at home by Crawley while second-placed Mansfield saw off Macclesfield. Leaders Lincoln drew with Notts County and Exeter beat MK Dons.

*We have three pairs of tickets to give away for Carlisle United’s clash with Exeter City on Saturday. See tomorrow’s News & Star