Chris Beech has hailed the commitment of Rhys Bennett after the centre-half suffered a fresh injury in Carlisle United’s draw at Cheltenham.

Beech said Bennett – in his first start for more than a month – had “put his body on the line” for both the club and the head coach himself.

Bennett had to go off in the 22nd minute after suffering an injury after a challenge with the home side’s George Lloyd.

United’s boss said he hopes the 29-year-old will be able to make a quick return to action.

But he also hailed Bennett’s determination at a time his deal with the Blues is almost up.

Beech said: “That’s that commitment and the relationship I have with my players.

“I said to him in the dressing room, ‘Thank you’. He’s put his body on the line when his contract’s up and that is really commendable.

“It was a foul that we didn’t get and I get an injured player.

“And I hope he’s ok, because he’s a great guy, a really good footballer.

“Yes, he had his little wobble, and it was difficult as a manager in that period to not play your captain [Nick Anderton], not play your vice-captain [Aaron Hayden], not play Rhys, not play certain players because we hadn’t been able to train…

“But it’s the wrong time [to talk about that], because again it would be classed as an excuse.”

Beech, when asked if Bennett’s character was the sort of trait he wanted in the club for longer, replied: “Everybody here represents that, everybody.

“We’re doing more in less, and we have it harder, but we don’t moan.

“If everybody sees those comments as some sort of excuse, I’m quite happy for you to come and have a go at doing it.

“It’s very hard, and sometimes we’re not supported by other factors out there, but it’s difficult, and I doubt Cheltenham’s manager gets questioned in the same way I do after games.”

Beech, meanwhile, said it was uncertain when Bennett’s fellow centre-half Rod McDonald could return from injury.

Asked if the defender could figure in either of United’s last two games, the head coach said: “I hope so, I really do, but I’m not sure. He’s got a dead leg that’s not responded. But I hope so.”