Chris Beech says 16-goal midfielder Jon Mellish is everything a Carlisle United fan should want from a player.

The former centre-half added another goal to his impressive 2020/21 tally in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Leyton Orient.

It further improved Mellish’s record as the most prolific central midfield player at Brunton Park in a single season for decades.

Head coach Beech admits the 23-year-old still has to work on a number of aspects of his game in order to improve.

But the Blues boss said the ex-Gateshead man’s scoring record and his tireless work ethic should be applauded.

Beech, who moved Mellish from defence to midfield in the latter stages of last season, said of his goals tally: “What can I say?

“It’s foresight from myself, commitment from the player and an output’s that’s just commendable.

“He’s not a refined Premier League player is he, Jon? I spoke to him at length after the Cheltenham fixture that we’ve got to tidy a lot of things up – decisions on the ball, if you play higher and give the ball away, you don’t get it back for five minutes.

“No matter what you do if the ball keeps turning over, it doesn’t really matter how good you are – the opposition just destroy you.

“We have to tidy that up as a team anyway but individually with Jon, I want his standards higher to that, his first touch, decision-making, staying emotionally in control.

“But one thing he is, and I’ve been saying it since I saw what I saw, is [something] that if I was a Carlisle fan I wouldn’t want anything different.

“He runs his absolute [socks] off for himself and the club, he wears his badge on his heart, he gives 100 per cent and that’s Jon Mellish.”

Former Sunderland trainee Mellish, who came off the bench to net the Blues' first equaliser in east London, remains comfortably United’s leading scorer this campaign, with 11 of his goals coming in the league and five in the cups.

His goals have come in his 48 appearances for the Cumbrians this campaign.

His efforts included an autumn run of 12 goals in 14 appearances from October 3 to November 29.

Beech suggested his output has defied early-season criticism of the player.

“I remember playing Barrow at home and people were asking if we could lend Mike Jones because they didn’t want to see Jon,” the United boss added.

“He needs to tidy his football up but he’s got a big future now as an attacking midfield player.

“He knows he needs to work on his decision-making and on staying more emotionally in control. If he gets those two things better he might end up playing for his beloved Sunderland one day. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.”