Carlisle United will not step up plans for a reserve squad until their training ground plans are further down the line.

Manager Paul Simpson said the need to get the right facilities in place must come before any moves to establish a second string group.

Carlisle this week handed four youth team players third year scholarship deals for 2024/25.

Sam Hetherington, Jake Allan, Aran Fitzpatrick and Josh O’Brien will continue their development with the Under-18 side as well as playing reserve games and potentially making work experience loan moves.

Asked if the move would coincide with a more established reserve or Under-21/23 set-up at Brunton Park, Simpson said: “Not for next season, because it’s a chicken and egg thing – we need the training facility first.

“At moment we are really restricted with what got in terms of that. Until we get a training facility that we can actually have an area where we can have that squad between first team and academy, there’s no point thinking about it.

“In this area we struggle for facilities. None of us like the fact we’ve got first team training here [at Brunton Park] or at Gretna, and the academy at Dalston and playing games at Frenchfield [in Penrith].

“We need to be on one site for this club to really move forward.”

Discussions are thought to be at an advanced stage over a site for a new training ground which is a major part of the Piataks’ plans for the Blues as the club’s owners.

News and Star: Aran Fitzpatrick is one of four teenagers kept on by Carlisle for next seasonAran Fitzpatrick is one of four teenagers kept on by Carlisle for next season (Image: Ben Challis)

Simpson, meanwhile, has praised the part Workington Reds have played in exposing the four young players to first-team football.

Hetherington, Allan and Fitzpatrick have spent recent months with Danny Grainger’s team while O’Brien had a brief spell at Borough Park earlier in the campaign.

“I haven’t been able to watch them personally but we get reports every week and the staff go out to watch them – and they’ve all done really well,” said Simpson.

“I know Danny Grainger is really happy with what they’re doing.

“They’ve shown they can deal with the physicality of senior football, and that’s as 17 and 18-year-olds.

“Hopefully there’s a bit more growth to come from them.”