Manager Keith Millen says discussions are “ongoing” over Mark Howard’s Carlisle United future.

The goalkeeper has become a key part of the Blues side since joining on a short-term deal in October.

Howard has played every minute since joining at a time fellow keepers Magnus Norman and Lukas Jensen have been sidelined with injury.

The 35-year-old’s experience and vocal qualities have made him a vital part of the team and squad at Brunton Park.

And with his deal up at the end of the year, boss Millen says talks are taking place.

“I’ve spoken to Mark – I speak to all the players – but we’ve had a couple of conversations,” Millen told the News & Star.

“He shows his experience around the place, he’s a really good pro in and around the training ground, and he shows his experience on the pitch.

“He was very close to getting probably three of the pens [against Lincoln], he guessed the right way, credit to Mark, he did his homework, I think, a little bit on what they were doing.

“So Mark’s been a big part of what we’ve done so far, he’s an experienced keeper and he talks…a lot actually! He talks a good game.

“Those discussions are ongoing. He knows how I feel, I know how he feels, and that’s an ongoing discussion.”

Former Arsenal, Bolton, Blackpool and Sheffield United keeper Howard joined the Blues shortly after Chris Beech’s sacking.

He made his debut against Tranmere during Gavin Skelton’s caretaker tenure and has made 11 appearances in total for the Blues.

That spell has included five clean sheets.

Norman, who started the season as United’s first-choice gloveman, is not yet ready to return from a leg injury.

Burnley loanee Jensen, meanwhile, is out with a wrist injury.

Millen has home-grown teenagers Scott Simons and Gabe Breeze as understudies to Howard at the moment, with Simons having been on the bench for recent games.