Carlisle United have made defender Aaron Hayden their first summer signing.

The Blues have brought the centre-half back for a second spell at Brunton Park.

They have moved for Hayden on a two-year deal after he was released by Wrexham following their promotion to League One.

It means the 27-year-old is back at Brunton Park having previously played for the Blues from 2019 to 2021.

United hope Hayden will add his height and stature to a back line that was leaky in their 2023/24 League One relegation season.

News and Star: Hayden was previously with United from 2019 to 2021Hayden was previously with United from 2019 to 2021 (Image: Richard Parkes)

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man made 73 appearances in his two campaigns in Cumbria, scoring eight goals.

After being sold to Wrexham at the start of the 2021/22 season, Hayden played 88 times for the big-spending Red Dragons over three campaigns as they claimed successive promotions from the National League to the third tier, though only 18 appearances came in an injury-hit 2023/24 season which saw Phil Parkinson's side finish second in League Two.

It is expected that Hayden will be the first of a string of signings as Paul Simpson rebuilds his United squad for the 2024/25 League Two campaign.

Speaking about Hayden's return, Simpson told the club website:  “We’re delighted that Aaron has agreed to return to us.

"He comes back to the club with more experience under his belt and two promotions. I think he’ll be a great addition to the group.

“As soon as we knew he was going to be available, he was a player we targeted early. We’re delighted to have been able to get this agreed ahead of other clubs.

“We are now continuing to look to strengthen the squad, ahead of an exciting new season.”