Carlisle United will build their attack around loan players next season because, Steven Pressley feels, such a route represents better “value for money” to the Blues.

The manager says United have pinpointed a young Championship striker who will be their main frontman in the 2019/20 season.

It will require patience, Pressley said, to get the player through the door, even though Carlisle have an “agreement in principle” over the deal.

Pressley, though, believes the player will be worth waiting for when, all being well, he arrives in the next two or three weeks – even if it leaves the Blues short of centre-forwards for the early stages of pre-season.

Significantly, he also thinks going down the loan route is a more productive approach for Carlisle given their limitations in the market right now.

United’s financial approach has been well-documented by this stage and this, Pressley suggested, is pricing them out of moves for reliable and more experienced frontmen at their level who are available permanently.

Those who are left do not, he says, carry the same potential to fire up Carlisle’s season as the young loan man they have lined up.

“I believe the ‘secure’ signings we make generally will be in the defensive and midfield areas of the pitch,” Pressley said.

“As a club, because of the budgetary situation, we cannot compete with the top [spending] clubs in this division – so the free, out-of-contract players in the striking department that have got history, generally aren’t coming here.

“One reason is geographical, the other is we can’t compete in that market. So I think, in the market, we get much better value for money in the loan market.

“Because of that, we need to be more patient. I’d rather be patient, and get really good value for money, rather than rush into signings that I don’t think will take the club where we want to go.”

Pressley would not be drawn on the club, or the player, who is in line to be their new No9, but it is someone United are believed to have earmarked for some time amid a range of other potential loan arrivals from the top two tiers.

How they will set up in their early friendlies considering they are so light on centre-forwards is yet to be discovered. The longer-term merits of the deal are, though, worth holding on for, according to Carlisle’s manager.

“Our main striker, [for whom] we have an agreement in principle, is a loan player,” he said. “We are going to have to wait two or three weeks for that to materialise, but I’m willing to wait that time because I think the player is very much worth it.

“He’s a younger player, but think has huge potential. I’m really excited by this player if we get him in – he really suits how we play. He has high energy, is quick, has good movements and could score lot of goals at this level in my opinion. He’s a really interesting player for us.

“As for the Hibernian game [United’s first friendly on Tuesday week], you might not quite see the team how it is going to be until a little later in pre-season. We will get in place a lot of the foundations I need to put in place, then it is adding the icing on the cake.

“We have to understand that this is a real transitional summer for us, and it’s important we don’t panic, and get the players in.”

Pressley indeed said he was “comfortable” with United’s position player-wise at the moment. He said there are “a number of situations in the pipeline”, including more loan agreements in principle, but there is no imminent signing on the table other – hopefully – than that of Gateshead midfielder Tom White.

There is, the manager concedes, still “a lot of work ahead of us” and the intention of signing another “eight or nine players, realistically”. He said waiting, as opposed to diving in, leaves open better possibilities down the line, considering the profile of player United can realistically expect to sign.

Attacking 2019/20 with a squad of about 23 professionals is the aim – enough, Pressley says, to cover all situations whilst offering clear enough routes into the squad for Carlisle’s home-grown teenage players.

The reliance on loanees may sound an alarm with fans, given the way United’s promotion push faded last term after the half-season loss of Ashley Nadesan, Jerry Yates and Jack Sowerby.

“One thing I will say is that we will definitely be trying to do full-season loans,” Pressley said when the News & Star put this to him. “The problem is, with most clubs, they want to put a clause in. It is obviously something we have to deal with.

“We have to build a relationship with these clubs where they are going to be season-long loans – that is ideally [what we are after] and is what [director of football] David Holdsworth is working towards, but there are no guarantees.”

United’s plans – and Pressley conceded the squad is almost being rebuilt from “ground zero” – could change again if interest in Hallam Hope develops into a departure for last season’s top scorer.

Carlisle have already turned down bids yet interest remains, from Leagues One and Two. Hope joins the rest of the squad for pre-season training today with a degree of doubt over how long he will remain a Blues player.

“Hallam has spoken to me in person and if there is the opportunity to play in a higher league, he wants to have the opportunity,” Pressley said. “I’ve said to him we’ll not stand in his way if the club receive an offer we feel is fit for his level of player.

“One thing I’ll say in Hallam’s defence – and he’s said this to me – is if it doesn’t happen, there will be no question marks on his commitment to this football club. But every player who’s got their career ahead of them, if the chance to play at a higher level comes, they want to do so.

“We also need to be a club that gives players a platform, to take the club forward and then move on. If we get enough of those players, this club will move onto a level where we can start saying ‘No’ [to offers]. But we’re not at that stage yet. This is why we are building a team with young, hungry players with the platform to enhance their careers.”