Gavin Skelton says Morgan Feeney has got all the attributes to be a top player for Carlisle United after the defender ended his long wait for a first Blues appearance.

Feeney was given an hour of Carlisle’s 2-0 Central League Cup Final defeat to Bournemouth at St George’s Park yesterday.

It marked the January signing’s return to action from a broken foot which had handed Feeney a luckless start to life with United.

Assistant boss Skelton said former Everton and Sunderland player Feeney can now build on his eventual first taste of Blues action.

He said: “I think you could tell he’s a good talker, a good organiser, and you could see bits of the quality he has.

“We’re excited for getting him fully fit – hopefully he can get a full pre-season under him, he stays fit and he can be a good player for us.

“He’s definitely a leader. I’ve seen that in training the last couple of days – he’s got a voice which is important.

“It was important he got a game. It gives him confidence. If he works hard off season, and gets a full pre-season, he’s got all the calibre and pedigree to be a good player.”

Skelton said it was always the intention to give the 22-year-old only an hour’s action given it was his first game for months.

It came as a young United line-up went down to an impressive Bournemouth in the reserve final at the national football centre.

First-half goals from Christian Saydee and Jaidon Anthony secured the trophy for the Cherries.

Skelton, though, was pleased with how the Blues applied themselves.

Their XI was largely made up of young pros and youth team players, with just Gime Toure from the regular first-team ranks starting.

Skelton said: “It’s ultimately disappointing to see someone else pick the trophy up – we were desperate to win it – but I cannot fault their effort.

“I thought the team’s and the players’ effort was magnificent against a really good Bournemouth side.

“I don’t want to take anything away from them – they were good, had really good players, they’ve played together a lot and you could tell that at times.

“But the minimum you ask for is effort and pride in the badge and I thought the boys showed that.

“At 2-0 it would have been easy to go under but I think we’ve learned over the last month or so that if you stay in the game, you never know what happens.

“I think 2-0 was a fair reflection on the game if I’m honest, but if we’d got one, who knows, and that was due to the efforts and attitude of the players.”

Skelton also praised the efforts of some second-year youth players who already know they are being released by the club.

Some of the first-year professionals involved are also set to have their futures decided at Brunton Park.

Skelton said: “It’s difficult, but they enjoy playing for the club and it was a cup final. They were a credit to themselves.

“I’m proud of them, I’ve known some of them a long time, proud of their effort and commitment.

“It is difficult, there’s lots going on for them, they’re young men, but that’s the tough realities of football.

“Hopefully many of them stay in the game professionally. It doesn’t get any easier but the rewards of the feeling Cheltenham had on Tuesday night [when getting promoted against United] and Bournemouth had here, you get nothing else in life that matches when you achieve something.

“You go through the hard times and I’m sure the lads will experience some good times.”

Skelton also said United had relished the chance to play at St George’s Park.

He said: “It’s something they won’t forget. They look after you really well here and the facilities are first class.”