Chris Beech felt a reserve friendly against Blackburn was a good exercise for his Carlisle United players – despite the heavy defeat.

The Blues went down to a 4-0 defeat to a Rovers Under-23 side coached by ex-United man Billy Barr.

A mixture of fringe and young players represented Carlisle, who lost out to a Sam Burns hat-trick and a Luke Brennan strike.

United boss Beech said: “It was basically everybody who didn’t play on Saturday [at Oldham].

“Max [Hunt] took great responsibility – I was impressed with Max.

“It also gave Marcus Dewhurst a chance to play 90 minutes. I know he’s been with Sheffield United but he played in training games, not any friendlies.

“Other players got a run-out, which was great to see.”

Beech said he had missed out on one of the players in Blackburn's Under-23 ranks this pre-season.

He said: “I had a good half hour with [Rovers boss] Tony Mowbray – they signed a player I was trying to sign myself in the summer.

“They managed to get him for their 23s, and he’s been training with Tony already.

“We were very close to getting him but Blackburn’s obviously a bigger, better opportunity for him. I was seeing if he was available in that chat.”

Beech would not reveal the identity of the player but it is understood to have been 18-year-old midfielder Tyrhys Dolan, who joined Rovers from Preston.

In recent interviews about his July move to Blackburn, Dolan said he had had "offers from Carlisle and Fleetwood, but felt Blackburn was the best move for me."

Dolan was a Preston team-mate of defender Jack Armer, who did join the Cumbrians. He has already featured for Mowbray's first team as a sub in their Carabao Cup victory over Doncaster.