Carlisle United have handed four youth team players extended deals at Brunton Park.

The club have offered third-year scholarships to Jake Allan, Aran Fitzpatrick, Sam Hetherington and Josh O’Brien.

The teenage quartet are approaching the end of their two-year youth team deals but the Blues have opted to extend their development spells at the club with a third year rather than simply award professional deals.

The third-year scholarships will allow the four players to continue playing in United’s youth team next season, as well as train with the first-team squad.

At the same time, United are releasing the other second-year youth players on their books – Jacob Barry, Will Maddison, Romeo Park, Robbie Swinburn and James Walsh.

News and Star: Romeo Park is among the second-year youth players being released by UnitedRomeo Park is among the second-year youth players being released by United (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Hetherington, Allan and Fitzpatrick are currently on work experience loan deals at Workington Reds with O’Brien also having had a stint with Danny Grainger’s side earlier this season.

Manager Paul Simpson said today: "It's a different route we're taking with them – normally when they come to the end of their scholarship it's, 'are they good enough for a pro contract?’, which means they have to come in and be involved in the first team, because we don't have any other holding area for them.

"We've looked at the third-year scholarship as a way to try and get them more development time, more coaching time, rather than being involved in the first team.

“The way it works normally in a season is play, recover, play, sometimes you get a week of training, so there's very little opportunity for development stuff.”

New academy manager Steven Rudd, also speaking on United’s website, added: “We’ve given them third-year scholarships to make sure the lads continue to get the development coaching and time that they might not get with a professional contract.

“Sometimes it’s easy when they’re a first-year pro to expect a bit too much from them so this will hopefully help them bridge the gap.”

Rudd added: “All four of them have absolutely deserved it with the way they’ve gone about their last two-years and it gives all of the lads in the academy hope that they can follow suit.”

Youth team boss Mark Birch hinted that further loan opportunities could be explored for the four players next season.

“Going forward, we’ll be looking at getting them more first-team experience to make sure they continue that development and we’re looking forward to seeing how they progress next year,” he said.

United, meanwhile, said they wished the players being released well.

“Most of them will leave with no regrets which is one of the first things we say to them when they first arrive,” added Birch.

“Whether they’re successful or unsuccessful, we want them to go away knowing they’ve done everything they can and I think these lads have done that.

“We will obviously do anything we can to help these lads with anything they need going forward.”