Hallam Hope has turned down the chance to play for Barbados in order to fight for his place at Carlisle United.

The Blues forward was wanted by the Bajan national side for games against the US Virgin Islands on Sunday and Tuesday.

But Hope has passed up the chance to add to his caps in favour of playing for Carlisle against Crewe at Brunton Park this weekend.

Manager Steven Pressley is delighted at 25-year-old Hope’s decision and says it underlines his commitment to the club.

Pressley said: “He was selected for going away, and I spoke to him in depth regarding his situation, and he’s fully committed to this club at this moment in time.

“He’s shown great commitment by not going away on international duty. He spoke with the manager and people in charge there [at Barbados] and expressed that he wanted to stay here – he wanted to continue playing for this club, and because of that he’s fully available this weekend.

“I already said, when the window closed and he returned [from previous Barbados games] he has looked like a different player, really focused on doing well here, full of energy and training really well. He looks more involved with the group and he’s settled again.

“Turning down a chance to go away on international duty to continue playing here shows everybody his commitment at this moment in time. We’re really pleased with that.”

Hope will be aiming to keep his place in the side to face fourth-placed Crewe having been recalled for last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Newport.

The ex-Bury man is trying to re-establish himself as a first-choice frontman after a summer of speculation over his future and a pre-season injury.

Hope was paired with top scorer Olufela Olomola in a 3-5-2 system at Newport and the signs are that Pressley will continue with that formation.

United’s manager said the striker has shown the right attitude since the possibility of a transfer did not materialise.

Pressley added: “I know in the summer people were questioning his commitment.

“I understand people and supporters want players to play for their club, but as a player – and I’ve been there before – if the opportunity arises to play at a higher level and earn more money, naturally you’re gonna be interested.

“It’s normal, it’s life. I would expect any ambitious player to be that way. But he has shown a commitment, since the close of the window, to this club. His attitude’s been amazing. He’s a different character about the place.”

United on Saturday face a Crewe side who are a point off the top of League Two and have lost just once in six away games.

The Cumbrians are 18th and Pressley has called for a repeat of United’s performance levels of last weekend, when they outplayed Newport for long spells only to concede a last-gasp goal.

He said: “We’ve worked hard on how we’re going to play. A lot of our principles never change, just a couple of smaller details we work on every week which I hope can help us.

“I think it’s going to make for a really good game. They [Crewe] are in good form and have a lot of really good young players.”