Carlisle United have announced that all five of this season's first-year pros will leave Brunton Park at the end of the campaign.

The Blues have decided to release Jamie Armstrong, Charlie Barnes, Charlie Birch, Liam Lightfoot and Tom Wilson.

The news marks a disappointing campaign for the five teenagers, who have not been able to break into Chris Beech's first-team reckoning this season.

All five stepped up from the youth ranks last year but saw senior opportunities hard to come by.

Mid-season loan moves for four of the players to Kendal Town, intended to give them first-team experience, were curtailed when Covid-19 shut down the non-league game.

United head coach Chris Beech said the players were entitled to feel "hard done to" because of how difficult it has been this season to develop them in the intended way.

Speaking on the club website, Beech said: "We have made the decision to release Jamie, Charlie Birch, Charlie Barnes, Liam and Tom when their current deals expire.

"As a club we’ve got to push through the next batch of young players and work with them to generate progression. 

"This year any young player, especially ours, has the right to feel hard done to. I’d like to go on record and thank the boys for their professionalism and commitment in such difficult circumstances.

"My phone is always on and as [director of football] David Holdsworth has said in previous interviews, we’ll do anything we can as a club to help the lads as they go on with the next phase of their footballing journey."

Winger Armstrong has been sidelined recently with a broken ankle.

The other four all featured for the reserve Central League Cup final defeat to Bournemouth at St George's Park.

Right-back Barnes and left-sided Birch - son of Blues Under-18 coach and former right-back Mark Birch - were joined in the side by centre-half Wilson and midfielder Lightfoot.

Wilson had a luckless start to the season with injury before returning to fitness.

Beech added: "It's fair to say that this season has been like no other.

"As a football club I think we’ve faced some really significant issues which have affected what we set out to do at the start of the season, and there’s no hiding away that our young professionals have probably suffered as a consequence.

"The plans for them to go out and develop were curtailed just as they were finding their feet at Kendal Town, and the inability for us to get bounce games with other clubs because of the pandemic has more or less knocked a year away from their footballing careers.

"That has happened to young players across the country."

Birch is the only one of the quintet to have made a first-team appearance, his outing coming as a sub appearance in the 3-0 defeat to Colchester in December 2019.