Striker Hallam Hope has told Carlisle United he wants to play at the highest level possible amid speculation of a summer move.

Last season’s top scorer has not asked for a transfer, said director of football David Holdsworth, who stressed the Blues would not part with Hope unless they received an appropriate bid.

But the 15-goal man’s future is likely to remain under the microscope with other clubs understood to be interested in the 25-year-old.

Holdsworth said Hope would remain a big part of the squad at Brunton Park in spite of any rumours over his fate.

He said: “Hallam wants to play at the highest level [he can] – his agent has expressed his view in that to me.

“Whilst Hallam hasn’t asked for a transfer, he still knows he’s part of our club.

“Until we were in a position that we received a bid that was fitting – and that goes for every player, not just Hallam – we will make sure he is 100 per cent focused on returning to us in pre-season.

“I like him as a person, as a man, and we feel he can contribute – but every player does have their value.

“I’ll do everything in my power to look after this football club.”

United recently activated a clause in Hope’s contract to extend the former Everton and Bury man’s Blues stay for next season.

It has not been confirmed whether the Cumbrians have yet received any formal approaches for the Barbados international’s services.

The frontman joined United in the summer of 2017 under former boss Keith Curle, and since then has made 93 appearances, scoring 28 goals.

Carlisle, meanwhile, are hoping to make progress with transfer targets this week after meeting a number of players.

Holdsworth and manager Steven Pressley are bidding to add to their three summer signings to date.

Holdsworth said: “Steven and I are working around the clock, to be honest.

“There are players out there who are out of our pay structure – we’ve tried and it does sometimes get frustrating, but we’ve got to stick to our principles.

“Our principles must not all be about money. If we can’t get Plan A, Steven must have a Plan B. We’re being very practical in terms of recruitment.

“Steven’s being patient, that’s his responsibility as manager, and he knows that – at the end of the day it’s his team, and his squad, and managers have to live with that ability to deal with situations.

“That’s what Steven’s having to deal with. It’s exciting, or it can be if you’re a manager that’s practical and you know how to skin a cat."