Blackpool and Bristol Rovers eye Raynes

Oxford's Michael Raynes (L) in action with Exeter's John O'Flynn

HITC Sport understands Blackpool and Bristol Rovers join race for defender.

Heidar Helguson of QPR (L) in action with Michael Raynes of Scunthorpe

Blackpool and Bristol Rovers have joined the chase for Leyton Orient target Michael Raynes from Carlisle United, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

As revealed by HITC Sport, League Two Orient are interested in signing Raynes as Andy Hessenthaler looks to bolster his attacking options.

However, League One new boys Bristol Rovers and Blackpool have now expressed an interest in Raynes as they aim to add the defender to their defensive ranks.

Raynes is regarded as one of the best central defenders in the lower leagues after making over 300 appearances in his career to date.

The 28-year-old began his career at Stockport County before moving on to have spells at Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Oxford, Mansfield and now Carlisle.

Oxford's Michael Raynes (L) in action with Exeter's John O'Flynn

Raynes joined Carlisle last summer on a free transfer and he has gone on to establish himself as a key player for Keith Curle's side.

The tough tackling defender was a virtual ever-present for Carlisle last season, making 49 appearances in all competitions and scoring three goals for the Cumbrians.

Carlisle are reluctant to lose their star defender, but are bracing themselves for offers for Raynes before the close of the transfer window.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch