David Holdsworth says Chris Beech’s management style and working relationships at Carlisle United meant it was the right time to extend his contract at Brunton Park.

The Blues’ director of football also said the new deal for Beech, which was announced on Christmas Day, “protects the club” at a time the head coach’s stock is rising.

Beech, who has turned United from relegation strugglers into promotion contenders, is now contracted to the summer of 2022 after his and No2 Gavin Skelton’s new terms were confirmed on December 25.

Holdsworth said Beech’s good work over the past 12 months deserved to be rewarded.

“When Chris came [in November 2019] it was on my terms,” Holdsworth told the News & Star. “I’d had meetings with various probables and possible, but I presented it to the board, and I got on very well with Chris – I liked his morals and straightforward approach.

“Also, when I asked him to give me a blueprint, it matched what I thought [was right] for League Two, when we considered who’s gone up and been challenging for departure to League One in recent years.

“I love the fact he’s keen on fitness and training ethics, and character references. He has an ability to get as much information as he wants [about targets], then he comes to me and I take over.

“He puts the hard work in alongside me. As a club it’s something we didn’t really have before, in a different management style, but I think this works.

“We’ve turned some good players down, who wanted a lot of money to come to Carlisle but didn’t have the characteristics we’ve got – we’ve got a very honest squad that’s showing in the media, in the dressing room and on the pitch.

“I think Chris has gained a lot of people’s friendship and trust, and also demonstrated that with his management style.

“The fans have bought into him. I don’t know when the last time was that there was such a rapport, and it made sense for us to look to reward him for that.

“By gaining another season, and potentially another season after that, I’ve protected our football club.”

Holdsworth said the work he and Beech have done to rebuild the squad in 2020 will stand the Blues in good stead.

After a busy January transfer window, there were wholesale changes in the summer.

United have embarked on a positive campaign since then and Holdsworth said that will lead to less upheaval in the forthcoming windows.

“It’s been an incredibly tough year,” he said. “As a club we have had to work in difficult times, but the club has been extremely proactive in making sure everything has been done correctly.

“The next few months are going to come and go in accelerated time because games are going to come thick and fast.

“Continuity for me is key in terms of what we have. I’ve secured 95 per cent of our players for next season, and there’s only a few that are going to have to ask themselves whether they want to remain at Carlisle, and we will make the same decision if their performances are right.

“I’ve been very pragmatic in terms of retention. The players we have have demonstrated we can mix it against anybody in this league, and the key to continuity is having the driver in the right place.

“Chris has been a very successful addition to our club. Gavin Skelton and Chris have a very good working relationship.

“Gavin is somebody I kept on after Steven Pressley’s departure, and I’ve seen those two demonstrate good housekeeping and management skills.

“Over the last year, our recruitment and identification of players started in February, and using what we have, and the budget we have, it’s been a very successful time and that’s been able to see Carlisle United forge a good relationship as a club and community – an association I think which will only grow, and Chris has been a key part of that.”

Holdsworth said the prospect of extending Beech’s deal was discussed with chairman Andrew Jenkins in October, and it was agreed to wait until December, at which point they would look to reward the head coach if United remained on a positive course.

He added: “The players have bought into the manager, so what’s the point in having a team without the manager they want? The boys are fully behind Chris and the club, they’ve bought into Carlisle, and this has been demonstrated on the pitch – it’s made the fans happy.

“I sat down with Chris, explained that I wanted him to say, which he was delighted with – it didn’t take much time at all to get to the point of signing, and the same with Gavin.

“I’m pleased that we have appointed Chris for next season because I believe he will continue to grow.”

Beech, meanwhile, said his belief that he can keep building good things at United meant he was happy to commit for a longer spell in charge.

He said of the club's decision: "They’re not daft are they - they’ve seen something that started a year ago and is where it is now, they’re obviously protecting their assets.

"I have to try and keep building, I wouldn’t have committed if I didn’t feel we can grow more. I’m very pleased with that."