Carlisle United are now three games into their pre-season programme after a 3-0 win at Workington Reds.

What conclusions can we draw from their latest outing?

1 Edmo’s on the ball

The fight for attacking places in Paul Simpson’s side is taking shape, and Ryan Edmondson can consider himself near the front of the queue on the latest evidence.

News and Star: Ryan EdmondsonRyan Edmondson

The former Leeds United man was United’s star in the sun at Borough Park, scoring two clinical goals and showing some good hold-up play and movement in the No9 position.

Goals are a striker’s main currency and, even though his efforts so far have come against Northern League and NPL West opposition, Edmondson’s confidence in front of goal has been pleasing to see.

Carlisle gave the summer signing good service for his two goals and it will be vital to United’s creators to know that, when the supply is good, things at the business end will be just as efficient.

With Kristian Dennis absent on Saturday (at a wedding) and Omari Patrick currently injured, Edmondson – alongside the hard-working Tobi Sho-Silva – took his chance.

2 Midfield moves

Among the early features of Paul Simpson’s revival of the Blues last season was a canny midfield axis of Callum Guy and Jamie Devitt.

News and Star: Callum GuyCallum Guy

They were back together for the first time in that deeper central area on Saturday.

Duly the duo helped Carlisle exert the right amount of control when Danny Grainger’s hosts threatened to get their own foothold in the game.

Guy’s industry and Devitt’s calmness on the ball helped take the sting out of some highly tense games last season.

Both are hoping for a fresh run after injury; both, against Reds, had a hand in goals, too.

Something about the pairing seems to click and, with Devitt performing well as he continues his bid for a new deal, that may come into Simmo’s considerations.

3 The learning curve

It is a tribute to Jack Ellis’ impressive emergence that the teenage defender has not been the talk of pre-season so far.

News and Star: Jack EllisJack Ellis

He is just there, as though he has been for some time. Unfussy, steady, hard-working.

A young pro with a promising future. Being close to the pitch at Borough Park, meanwhile, gave a clear insight into the gradual aspects of development for such a prospect.

Ellis’s first-half position put him in close proximity to United’s dugout. This meant intermittent vocal bursts of coaching from Paul Simpson.

Carlisle’s manager was keen to address Ellis’s positioning down the right, urging him to push further up at times, beckoning him into pockets of space at others.

Behind Ellis, centre-back Ben Barclay was also not shy in advising the Staveley youngster where to move, where to be.

It seemed constructive advice from both, not the haranguing of young players we’ve heard from certain managers in the past. Ellis is learning, and learning well.

4 Festive Carroll

Workington, as they did under Danny Grainger before, are clearly trying to play the right way under the Cumbrian manager.

News and Star: Reds boss Danny GraingerReds boss Danny Grainger

In the early stages they played some enterprising football, examining United in the channels and around the box.

All they lacked against their League Two visitors was a dangerous goal threat in the 18-yard box. Half-chances were not taken, but opportunities will come playing this way in their division.

Some Reds players caught the eye in particular. Conor Tinnion’s quality and experience is familiar to Borough Park regulars, there was a doggedness about the defenders, including Dan Wordsworth and Liam Lightfoot, and ex-Marine man Ben Hughes was lively on the attacking right.

In midfield, meanwhile, former Everton prospect Bobby Carroll showed why he could be an important figure for Grainger in 2022/23.

Three times in fairly quick succession in the first half, the ex-Chorley player bit into sharp tackles on United’s Jordan Gibson, denying one of the Blues’ main creators time to turn.

For Carlisle, it was a reminder of the need to be swift and sharp in tightly-contested areas. For Reds, a sign that they have a new ball-winner in their ranks.

5 The untested

How good is Tomas Holy, Carlisle’s sizeable new goalkeeper?

News and Star: Tomas HolyTomas Holy

On the basis of their three games so far, we don’t really know.

The big Czech has had very few saves to make. On Saturday he took command at a few crosses, and his distribution was fine.

But the early non-league encounters for the Blues have not, as you might expect, extended the summer signing as yet.

This is perhaps where the benefits of certain pre-season games differ for goalkeepers compared with outfield players.

The latter, at the very least, get a good fitness run and steadily up to speed in that respect.

Holy has been able to get used to the players in front of him, and what appears Simpson’s preferred shape, but in terms of proper goalkeeping workout…not yet.

The visit of Bolton Wanderers and the trip to Morecambe, on the next two Saturdays, ought to set that right. Then we’ll get a better idea of what’s in the Holy bible.

6 Decision pending…

When it comes to Jamie Devitt, all we can hope is that the midfielder comes through each of these games unscathed and in good fettle.

News and Star: Jamie Devitt, left, chats to ex-United midfielder Chris LumsdonJamie Devitt, left, chats to ex-United midfielder Chris Lumsdon

So far, so good. The midfielder has 105 minutes in the tank now, thanks to outings at Kendal and Workington.

As ever, he looks happy to be in the thick of the Carlisle squad. His displays so far have been bright and it’s not hard to detect the hunger in Devitt to make the most of this chance.

Simpson will not be scrutinising his ability too much – that is amply known by now – rather than his durability.

Two segments of games in July does not yet tell the manager Devitt can sail injury-free through the rigours of a League Two season.

Continuing to show up well in the harder friendlies now will, at least, offer Simmo some of the reassurance he’s looking for.

In the same way some managers and clubs seem to fit, it can apply with players too. Devitt and Carlisle has always seemed a marriage that just works, and it would be rewarding to see it taken further again.