Paul Simpson says the four teenagers given an extended chance with Carlisle United must show the “desire” to make the professional grade.

Sam Hetherington, Jake Allan, Aran Fitzpatrick and Josh O’Brien are set to remain with the club on third-year scholarships.

While the quartet will still be able to play for United’s youth side, there could be pre-season opportunities in the senior ranks.

And first-team boss Simpson says the four must continue to show the right attitude and approach as they look to make further steps in their young careers.

“I just want to see them come in and show the enthusiasm to want to learn and to improve,” said Simpson. 

“That's all I want, and they've shown that in the times that they have trained with the seniors, so that’s the challenge for them.

News and Star: Fitzpatrick made his first-team debut against Wycombe last seasonFitzpatrick made his first-team debut against Wycombe last season (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“In that respect it's no different to what they've had last season – they have to show that they've got the enthusiasm and the desire to be a professional footballer.”

Left-sided Fitzpatrick made his first-team debut last season when he came off the bench in United’s last home game against Wycombe Wanderers.

O’Brien was also on the first-team bench late in the campaign while Hetherington and Allan have also trained with the senior squad.

All four spent time on loan with Workington Reds last season, and loan opportunities for the young players will be weighed up again in 2024/25.

Simpson said the extended development deals were a sensible option rather than signing the four up to professional contracts at this stage.

“We think that there's something there that's worth giving them another year,” added United’s manager.

“Maybe in a year's time we might be in a position where we might be looking at adding a B team, an under-21s team, a reserve team, whatever it might be, if we have the facility to be able to accommodate that, which we still don't have at this moment in time.

“Depending on the numbers that we have to start pre-season, those four lads may be with us, or they may be still with the under-18s, but they understand that's how we're going to work it, and hopefully they'll give it everything they've got.”