Manager Steven Pressley reckons the next deal out-of-contract Carlisle United star Jamie Devitt puts pen to will “probably the most important contract that he’ll sign” in his career.

Devitt has been offered a new deal with the Blues which will see him become the best paid player at the club if he accepts it.

But with the Irish playmaker, who last Sunday scooped the coveted players’ player of the year award reportedly attracting interest from Edinburgh rivals Hearts and Hibernian, he has not yet made a decision on his future. Devitt has scored 22 goals in 130 appearances for the Blues.

Pressley said: “He’s another who I had a good conversation with. It’s a situation in his career where he has a big decision to make.

"He’s at a stage where this is probably the most important contract that he’ll sign.

“He’s at that sort of age, and he’s had a terrific season, so he will obviously have suitors from elsewhere. He now has to weigh up what the best option for him is and I think we can only respect that.

“It’s normal, it’s the way football is. He has a family and a life in front of him that he needs to ensure he has stability about. There are a number of things for him to consider and I respect that fully.

"We, obviously, would love him to stay because he’s been a terrific player for the club. I have a very good relationship with him, but only time will tell now.”

Director of football David Holdsworth added on United's website: “As with Jamie Devitt, Steven has openly said that he would build a team around Jamie, so you can’t get much more wanted than that.

“If Jamie decides to move on then we’ll respect it, that’s no problem. He’s done well for the club, he’s had probably what I would say is his best season here, and that’s come about because he’s been welcomed and loved here by the staff and supporters.

“You don’t always get that when you go to another club.”

Meanwhile, with Jarrad Branthwaite, Josh Dixon, Keighran Kerr and Liam McCarron to start their first pre-season campaigns as part of the first-team squad, Holdsworth believes that shows Pressley is keen to work with younger players.

Holdsworth said: “One of the first things I said when I came through the door and spoke to the board was that we were keen to establish a pathway for young players.

"That’s been shown in the way I’ve dealt with things by giving these boys three-year contracts.

"That’s progression for our club, but we only do it with young boys who have the right mentality.”