Keith Curle wants to "thrash out" new deals for five of his key Carlisle United players as soon as the Blues' festive fixtures are over.

The manager said the new year will immediately herald contract talks with the experienced group of Danny Grainger, Jason Kennedy, Luke Joyce, Michael Raynes and Jason Kennedy.

United have already made preliminary approaches to the five but Curle says more detailed discussions will be launched after 2017's first game against Grimsby next Monday.

Curle said: "After Grimsby, we will have more time to sit down one-to-one with their agents and try and thrash out deals that sees them continuing what they're doing at the football club, which is important.

"When I first came in I said the football club needed a foundation and pillars - and I think it's typified by those five players.

"They've given us a strength not only as footballers but as characters within the club that I'm happy with."

Of the five, Grainger is currently sidelined with a knee injury, while midfielder Mike Jones is absent with an ankle problem.

While the Blues have not confirmed timescales on either player's lay-off, the fact both have been wearing braces on their respective injuries suggests they are unlikely to return in the short-term.

Grainger's void at left-back has been filled by Macaulay Gillesphey in Carlisle's last two games, but the Newcastle man has only two games remaining in his half-season loan.

Curle is keen to strike a further deal for the 21-year-old but is still awaiting the go-ahead from his parent club.

United's boss said: "Internally we've spoken to people at Newcastle - I've had conversations with Peter Beardsley, and spoken to Macaulay's agent - but ultimately we need the green light from above.

"That means the CEO and the person who deals with the loans, [secretary] Richard Hines.

"I think they'll be finding out is Macaulay happy, is he getting the game time, do they see him progressing with his career?

"We're very respectful of the fact he's a Newcastle United player and we're loaning him. If Newcastle have got other options, we've got to be respectful and wait for their decision. He's their player and they will make decisions they think are best for Macaulay.

"In our opinion we think he's developing, enjoying himself and progressing his career here. There might be people who see Macaulay with potential of playing in the next division above. They're well within their rights to examine that."

Curle is also assessing whether to add Russell Penn to his squad for Saturday's game at Notts County after his loan at Gateshead expired on Boxing Day.

The United boss said it was a "consideration", adding: "As soon as we get this bank of games out of the way, we'll sit down with the players who've gone out and been playing games.

"If I decide to bring them back into the fold, then we're going to need them fit and raring to go."