Carlisle United chief David Holdsworth insists the club have done “everything we can” to keep star man Jamie Devitt.

The midfielder is yet to show his hand on his future with a host of clubs understood to be interested.

Carlisle offered Devitt a new deal at the end of last season but there appears a strong chance the 28-year-old will go elsewhere.

Many fans have asked if the Blues could not have done more to try and ensure the Irish schemer would remain a United player.

Director of football Holdsworth said: “In that crop of players, the whole squad [at the end of the season], the first person I spoke to regarding a contract was Jamie Devitt and his agent.

“He was offered an extremely good deal, which is still open to Jamie - he can sign the deal, it’s still there, and we would love him here.

“I can reassure the supporters that Jamie Devitt is somebody we like, we would want here, we feel he would benefit from playing for us and he has a role in the team.

“Since then, I’ve had conversations with his agent, Jamie has spoken to other clubs and has still not signed for anybody. The door is still open to Jamie.”

Holdsworth was asked by the News & Star if United could not have acted earlier in the season on Devitt given his form and influence on the side.

He suggested the financial position at the club, plus uncertainty over Devitt’s future under ex-boss John Sheridan, were factors – but United always made it clear they wanted to extend his stay.

“Our club last year was put in a crippling situation [by previous contracts awarded],” he said.

“I spoke to Jamie when he had a position where he felt he may move on at Christmas. I told Jamie we wanted to keep him here.

“John Sheridan then departed. Jamie was [told] in no uncertain terms that we wanted to keep him.

“I didn’t get any bids for Jamie, or one conversation with another manager about Jamie – but we told Jamie we wanted to keep him and build a team around him.

“Nothing has changed. To reassure supporters, we’ve done everything we can. We’ve made Jamie very welcome here. He had a very good season last season which is why his agent is exploring other avenues.

“Players like lots of money, and we last season were crippled by the previous year and the year before that.

“We had to be patient, but I can only reassure people the first person I spoke to was Jamie Devitt.”

Scottish Premiership outfit Hibernian are among the clubs thought to be interested in Devitt.

Devitt is among three midfielders United are hoping to retain from last season’s squad, the Blues also waiting for progress with their offers to Mike Jones and Stefan Scougall.

Holdsworth added: “We are still hoping maybe one or two of them [will stay].

“They might find that the grass is not greener.”

United, who have signed three players so far this summer, remain in talks with further targets, having offered a deal to an unnamed striker this week.