Chris Beech hopes Carlisle United’s players will choose “football over finance” and stick with the Blues.

The head coach is hoping to tie down more members of his squad for the 2021/22 season.

While the Blues have yet to confirm their retained and released list, it is no secret that Beech wants to hold on to a number of his out-of-contract players.

And he hopes they will commit to Carlisle despite the possibility of earning more money elsewhere.

Asked if it could be a battle to keep certain individuals, Beech said: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work that out.

“Players will then have choices, and probably choose football in front of finance.

"They know what they get from me, the environment we create on the training pitch, and they know how we want to play.”

The future of several players is yet to be confirmed, with the out-of-contract group including Paul Farman, Nick Anderton, Omari Patrick, Dean Furman, Offrande Zanzala, Gime Toure, Rhys Bennett, Morgan Feeney and Cedwyn Scott.

Carlisle have already triggered options in the contracts of several others, including Callum Guy, Aaron Hayden, Jack Armer, Lewis Alessandra and Joe Riley.

It now remains to be seen whether the Cumbrians can keep the bulk of the other players who were part of 2020/21’s 10th-placed squad.

Beech believes that keeping his squad intact will be the best way of making progress next season.

On the recent contract extensions, he said: “I think that’s just excellent from the players and excellent from where we were [last summer], and the contracts that David [Holdsworth, director of football] was able to present to the players that they were happy to sign, because at the time their options were limited.

“What we’ve done is develop them into regular, competitive, energised footballers, and we’ve retained most of their services.

“The lads out of contract now…I’ve said in previous interviews I want to retain 99 per cent of us.

“We’ve done well, and there’s a chance of doing better by sticking together.”

Beech insisted this was key to United going further in 2021/22 and added: “It will be – but Nigel [Clibbens, chief executive] admitted to us being in the last quarter [of the division for player spending].

“He didn’t detail what bit of that quarter we are. It will be difficult because the players have played well. If they stay, they’re staying for the right reasons.

“I want them to stay, of course I do, the ones out of contract, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

While it is not yet confirmed when Carlisle’s retained list will be published, the Blues said it will be soon. A spokesman said: “It is expected to be at some point this week, once all details are finalised.”