Carlisle United are believed to be inching closer to a managerial decision as the wait for a successor to Chris Beech enters its 16th day.

The News & Star understands lengthy meetings were held between members of the club hierarchy yesterday.

It comes as United bosses seek to finalise their decision-making process after three games under caretaker control.

The Blues have yet to make any public comment about the situation this week.

It has not yet been clarified whether caretaker manager Gavin Skelton will get a further game in charge - or whether a new boss will be in place for Saturday's trip to in-form Northampton Town.

The interim management team took training yesterday at a time directors were discussing their options.

United have narrowed down their shortlist in recent days and have met leading contenders in a bid to finalise matters.

Names linked with the position include Keith Hill, Keith Millen and Graham Coughlan, with Skelton's credentials also likely to be discussed amid his caretaker reign.

It is unclear, meanwhile, whether the Blues have approached Paul Simpson, with many fans urging United to try and tempt the double promotion-winner back for a second spell at the helm.

Those closely involved in the process include chairman Andrew Jenkins, chief executive Nigel Clibbens, director of football David Holdsworth and Billy Atkinson from supporters' trust CUOSC.

Holdsworth has said that the appointment will come down to a board vote, meaning directors such as John Nixon and Steven Pattison can also expect a say.

Any new boss will take charge with United struggling at the wrong end of League Two. They sit third bottom after 14 games, following Saturday's 0-0 draw with Oldham.

Skelton has led them to two draws and a defeat following the October 10 sacking of Beech.

Ex-Rochdale and Tranmere boss Hill is 3/1 favourite with Sky Bet, with former Bristol City and Crystal Palace man Millen 4/1.

Yeovil boss Darren Sarll is the unlikely 5/2 favourite with BetVictor.