While much of the focus in pre-season will be on Carlisle United's new recruits, so too will it be a crucial period for some of the existing squad.

As Paul Simpson continues to reshape his squad, there will be a number of players who will be especially keen to impress once the side return to training on June 22.

Whether it be because they fell out of favour last year, or that they need to nail down a consistent position, it could be an important period for a clutch of players.

Here, we look at four players who will definitely be keen to impress upon their return - for varying reasons:

Corey Whelan

Whelan arrived as one of Carlisle's marquee signings last summer - but found himself in-and-out of the team under Simpson.

The former Liverpool and Wigan man showed his versatility with some promising performances in a defensive midfield role during the season, but failed to establish himself as part of Simpson's new-look back three.

It seems strange to say that a player who featured 41 times last season could have a point to prove - but a number of the defender's appearances under Simpson were from the bench as the new manager preferred the trio of Morgan Feeney, Jon Mellish and Dynel Simeu.

That said, though, Whelan did start the final two games of the campaign against Stevenage and Bradford City and will likely receive opportunities to impress in the early weeks of pre-season.

Indeed, Simpson obviously has faith in Whelan - after all, he handed him the captain's armband against Bristol Rovers following the injury to Callum Guy.

The Cumbrians' boss has also been quick to praise his work-rate and attitude - and with Carlisle still light on central defenders, there is a real chance for the 24-year-old to stake his claim for a regular starting spot in the backline during pre-season.

Jamie Devitt

It goes without saying that this pre-season will be a big one for Devitt, who is bidding to win a new deal.

The experienced midfielder was part of Carlisle's impressive start under Simpson before succumbing to an injury that ended his campaign.

He wasn't offered a new contract at the culmination of last season but was invited to pre-season training to try and secure his future at Brunton Park - and the early indications were that Devitt would accept that offer.

If Simpson is seeking players who understand what it is to play for Carlisle, then he need look no further than the former Morecambe man. He has shown across his two spells the kind of traits that are required at Brunton Park.

But it's the question of whether he will improve Carlisle's squad moving forward that will need to be answered in pre-season - and the onus is now on Devitt to answer that.

Tristan Abrahams

Abrahams, another 2021 summer signing, began his time at Brunton Park brightly and scored three times in his first seven appearances in all competitions.

But he could only muster one more goal for the Blues after that, and joined Grimsby Town on loan in January.

A further four goals followed for the National League side as Abrahams played his part in the Mariners' promotion back to the EFL, but his role in the play-offs was limited to substitute appearances.

On his return to Cumbria, Abrahams will have to show that he can compete with Omari Patrick, Kristian Dennis, Tobi Sho-Silva and Sam Fishburn for a starting berth - with Simpson also keen to added a 'focal point' to his attack.

The Carlisle boss won't close the door on any player though, and Abrahams will have to prove why he deserves an opportunity.

Taylor Charters

Another player to have spent time away from Carlisle on loan last season, Charters returns with some much-needed senior football under his belt and with a glowing reference from Gateshead. 

He scored four times for the Heed as they won the National League North, and was largely deployed as a left-back rather than in his natural central midfield berth.

And now his focus will no doubt be on establishing himself with the Blues.

Charters has shown flashes of what he could bring to the Carlisle side over the last couple of seasons, but consistency will now be key if he is to really force his way into Simpson's side on a regular basis.

Opportunities are likely to come his way in pre-season, and it will be interesting to see whether he is considered as a central player or a wide player given his success out wide at Gateshead.

Wherever he plays, Charters will have to show why he should be preferred to some more experienced options - and any potential new additions.