Chris Beech said Ryan Loft had done his case for selection no harm in Carlisle's reserve friendly defeat at Sunderland.

United lost 5-2 in the behind-closed-doors game on Wednesday, with Loft forcing Carlisle's own-goal opener and then scoring himself late on.

Beech said of the Leicester loan frontman: “I played him on the left, outside left, and he did great.

“He ran at Sunderland’s experienced back three and created the first goal by powering down the line and fizzing a cross in that they couldn’t defend, and headed in their own goal; we went 1-0 up.

“He scored a goal at the back end of the game when it had drifted in terms of scoreline, but he worked harder, showed more attitude to running and recovering.

“He’s had a little bit of an issue in terms of being part of a disciplined group of people, because we’re trying to improve that all the time, but he’s responded well to the conversations we’ve had, and that’s all he can do as a player.”

Beech also confirmed he is taking an extended look at trialist Callum Harris after his latest United outing in the north east.

Ex-Manchester City, Blackburn and Wolves prospect Harris has been with United for about three weeks.

Beech said: “He’s desperate for an opportunity.

“We spoke at length after the game – it wasn’t the best of games for him but he has shown some good traits in training sessions.

“It’s something we’ll continue to look at and he’s happy for that to happen.”

Harris previously featured in a friendly at Kendal. The 24-year-old was most recently with Spanish third-tier side Real Burgos.

Head coach Beech added: “I’ve told him, for us to grow, get stronger and improve, you need to be a significant difference to what we are.

“Off Wednesday’s showing it wasn’t quite like that, but also it wasn’t quite enough to say, ‘Thank-you for your efforts and try somewhere else’.

“He’s got a good enough character to say, ‘I know I’m better than that and I want to show you’, so I’m quite happy to leave that door slightly open at the moment.

“He is of a good age, but it doesn’t really matter how old – it’s important that they’re gonna make a difference, not necessarily now but for next season.”

Sunderland fielded a number of senior players, including Will Grigg, Kyle Lafferty and Antoine Semenyo against a United side largely comprised of senior fringe players.

Beech was impressed that Sunderland included some players who had featured in their League One draw with Fleetwood the day before.

He said: “Great credit to them. It’s good to see that, from my perspective, to show our players and say, ‘Look at them’

“I was quite pleased with the energy and efforts of the lads but of course you always want a little bit more.”