Chris Beech admits he is encouraged by Carlisle United’s new-found solidity at the back.

The Cumbrians have kept three clean sheets in their last four games to boost their climb up the League Two table.

Keeper Paul Farman has conceded just once in six hours and four minutes – a welcome contrast to United’s leaky early games of 2020/21 when they shipped three in each of their first three outings.

The latest shut-out came at Port Vale last Saturday and, as Carlisle prepare for Colchester’s visit this weekend, head coach Beech says it is a quality they must keep striving for.

“It’s very encouraging and if you’re serious about doing anything you look to try to get up towards the 20 [clean sheet] mark,” he said.

“You’ve also got to look towards winning half your games, and if you get those two situations correct then you have a chance of success.

“We work towards that but we don’t feel that it’s how it works for you, because finance dictates where you are in the table.

“So we’ve got to flip that up, and that’s obviously what we’re trying to achieve.”

United have been able to name a regular back four and keeper unit in recent weeks, in contrast to their injury absences in other areas.

There have been signs of an improved understanding at the back with George Tanner, Nick Anderton, Rod McDonald and Aaron Hayden playing in front of Farman.

Carlisle’s doggedness to protect their goal was demonstrated when Farman kept out Tom Pope’s penalty at Vale and both Jon Mellish and Hayden made last-ditch contributions to prevent the hosts scoring the rebound.

Beech said of the continuity in selection: “It’s definitely important, and it’s also important to have that in the front players as well.

“It helps you to work on different things and that’s why it’s been difficult to not have the same players available.”

Beech, though, was pleased with the efforts of Gavin Reilly as the striker came into the side at Port Vale.

The summer signing got his chance in the absence of Joshua Kayode, who is on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s.

Reilly had a hand in Mellish’s winner after recovering from injury in order to take his place in Carlisle’s attack.

“Gav Reilly is only a small guy but he puts his body on the line,” Beech said.

“Leon Legge [the Port Vale centre-half] is what, six foot three or four, and Gav’s half his size, but he wouldn’t have had an easy day.

“He was constantly being contacted and manoeuvred and he did very well.”

Beech said the hard-working qualities shown at Vale were exactly what he wants his team to produce.

He added: “With the team spirit and culture, since coming in [last] November I saw what it was and I’ve tried to change it as much as I can, but you have to wait for change to take place sometimes.

“I’m very pleased about the fact we’ve got there because I keep telling people that the dressing room has to represent the community.

“It’s hard working and it has qualities in there which are good.

“Everybody has an ego, but they’re controlled and they are together in terms of what they’re trying to achieve.

“We don’t know what we’ll do or how we’ll do it in terms of what will happen long-term, but what we do know is that if we stick to our traits then that will look after us.

“It’s imperative that we represent our Carlisle community when they can’t come and watch in the right way.”