Chris Beech admits he would love to keep Rhys Bennett beyond January – but is in no hurry to extend the deals of other Carlisle United players.

The Blues boss said ex-Peterborough and Rochdale defender Bennett can be a real asset this season.

Bennett has made two appearances since joining on a short-term deal, and will be in the squad to face Crawley tomorrow.

Beech said there were no guarantees United will be able to keep hold of the 29-year-old but he is certainly a player he would like to retain.

He said: “I’d love to keep Rhys, I really would.

“He’s a big lad, very athletic and, as you saw on Tuesday [against Aston Villa Under-21s], if he gets stretched into a channel he has the capabilities to get there – he’s very quick.

“He never looks like he’s flustered, has played a lot of games and is a great age.

“Sometimes it’s down to circumstances. The only reason he’s here is a deal fell through at Championship level and it changed the format of that, and with a couple of League One opportunities, their managers had him hanging on a line a little bit.

“I’ve spoken to him from the first day I got this job, I know his character and know he’s very good, and he can play various positions.

“Against Cheltenham we should have had a penalty for a foul on him in the box, and he won headers both at the back and ones that helped us in attacking situations.

“With the new five substitute rule, to have people like Rhys Bennett around would be great for us after January but we have to wait and see.”

Beech, though, said there was less of a hurry when it came to certain players whose deals are up at the end of the season.

Some of Gime Toure’s impressive performances have led some fans to argue that Carlisle should look to tie down the French attacker for longer.

Beech said: “There are players playing very well and there’ll be others looking in terms of where they are and what they want in terms of their futures.

“It’s a bit too soon to be talking about those things.

“[To get] Jon Mellish [on a longer deal] was important…it’s gone better than I thought but in terms of doing it I always knew he’d progress. Speaking with David [Holdsworth, director of football], it was the right thing to do to support that.

“It means all our players are basically secure for the future after their contract time.

“In terms of new contracts, it’s not like we have to do it right now, it’s important to do it and try and treat everyone as we can as a workforce.

“It’s one of our attributes - we’re all on the same page trying to do similar things.”