Gavin Skelton says he needed next to no time to agree his new Carlisle United deal – and is looking forward to helping Chris Beech continue building at Brunton Park.

The Cumbrian assistant head coach signed an extended deal over Christmas in line with that of Beech, keeping the pair at the club until summer 2022.

Skelton says he appreciates the faith shown in him by the Blues and hopes he can continue to be part of good times at his boyhood club.

“It happened quickly,” he said. “I think I got offered [the contract] on the Wednesday, and I agreed it within an hour to two hours – I don’t think I even told my wife, actually – and signed it on Boxing Day.

“I was delighted to get offered it. It’s natural to want to feel that confidence and when you have that, your own confidence grows.

“It’s the same as player – when you’re full of confidence you probably work better. I do feel I’m growing stronger into the job.

“I’ve got a long way to go to what I want to do and be, but I feel as I’m improving, which is important.

“It does make you feel a little bit more at ease, because in football, with contracts, you never know what’s going on – if it’s up in the summer it’s on your mind, and results are everything.

“If you’re winning games, your contract’s alright; if you’re not, your contract becomes vulnerable. That’ll never change if you’re a player, manager or on the coaching side.”

Skelton was retained by United after last November’s sacking of Steven Pressley, and the club insisted upon the 39-year-old Cumbrian, from Kirkby Thore near Penrith, remaining as part of the new management set-up.

That has seen the former Queen of the South and Workington boss team up with Beech to help turn Carlisle from relegation candidates into promotion contenders.

It has been a learning curve alongside Beech, Skelton says, and the two men have an increasing understanding.

“In football it’s 24/7 and you don’t really get the chance to think about it because there’s always something going on,” he says.

“We didn’t know each other before, but we know each other’s personalities better now, so you work quicker and more naturally so you know more what’s going on. The relationship is definitely developing.

“It just evolves, and you do what’s in front of you. I know what he looks for now and he knows my personality probably better now, too.”

Beech regularly speaks about the need for relentless high standards at Carlisle and Skelton says this mindset is essential if United want to convert their positive first half of 2020/21 into a successful run-in.

“You get greedy – you always want better,” he says. “It’s great to win, and it’s a great feeling, but you don’t want that feeling to go away. It makes everything better in life, as daft as it sounds – it makes your weekend better, your home life better, coming to training better.

“One game finishes and you’re looking at the next – it comes back to winning. Winning’s everything. You do what it takes to win, small margins, anything you think can improve, and it’s important we continue to do that.”

Beech will learn tomorrow if he has been named League Two’s manager of the month after a strong December at United, which was followed by their new-year rise to the top of the table.

The head coach’s nomination is, naturally, a positive sign, but Skelton says such accolades will always be consumed by the longer, collective effort.

“It’s great if people get awards, but the award you want is after 46 games and success at the top end of the table, whatever that is,” he says.

“It’s great [in the] short-term, but long-term it doesn’t change where you want to be, and that’s why you don’t get chance to breathe. You enjoy the wins but don’t properly enjoy it because you always want the next win, and you’re desperate to try and do well.”

Among the encouraging aspects of United’s rise has been the emergence of more home-grown players. Taylor Charters made an eye-catching full league debut at Walsall last weekend and this delighted Skelton, who worked with the young west Cumbrian in the club’s youth set-up.

“I’ve known Taylor from 15-16, and I’ve seen a massive change in him,” Skelton says. “He’s got a long way to go but he did well on Saturday. There’s more to come – he should score [in that game] – but I’ve seen how much he’s added to his game.

“I feel he’s got a bit between his teeth to push on and do well. They all have to do that every day. When Josh [Dixon] played but Taylor didn’t, that maybe pushes Taylor on. You want that right through your squad and in different age groups.”

The need to push on applies in all ways, not least in Carlisle’s bid to strengthen their position at the top of League Two. It is Leyton Orient on Saturday next.

“You’ve got to do even more, because people are aware of you,” Skelton says. “If we play someone that’s above us, that’s an extra motivation.

“Teams will start looking at us, they’ll know how we play more now, and they’ll add that extra five or 10 per cent, so we have to match that and continue what we’re doing, and be that team they perhaps don’t like playing.

“Football has a habit of kicking you up the backside if you switch off. If you’re doing OK, which we are at the moment, you’re on the radar and we’re conscious we have to do more, and work even harder to maintain where we want to get to.”

Just the simple pleasures of going to work are cherished by Skelton at this time. Covid-19 has disrupted football but the coach retains perspective. “It’s challenging, but [I’m] grateful to get to come to work every day and work in a football club and be involved in football.

“It’s great that you come to work, and get a bit of crack, and then I’m going home to see my family. I’m lucky in that way – I do something that’s really great, coming to a good football club and am around football every day.

“It is a job, but a job I really enjoy doing and wouldn’t swap it for something else.”