Carlisle United are making a fresh bid to bring Nathan Thomas back to Brunton Park – but a deal for Callum O’Hare now looks remote.

There has been renewed contact with Sheffield United this week as the Blues try to secure 24-year-old Thomas for the 2019/20 campaign.

Manager Steven Pressley has confirmed that they are “pursuing” Thomas, who spent the second half of last season on loan with the club.

Pressley was impressed with the skilful former Hartlepool forward and believes he can get the best out of him should he return.

United hold out more hope for Thomas than for Aston Villa midfielder O’Hare, who seems much less likely to come back to Cumbria.

The Villa Park club may seek to loan O’Hare to a higher level.

Pressley said: “I was in and met with Dean Smith and the sporting director at Villa, and we spoke about O’Hare and others.

“O’Hare is an unlikely one. We’d never close the door, but it’s unlikely.

“Thomas is different. I spoke to him over the summer and David [Holdsworth, Carlisle’s director of football] has made two offers on Thomas, one only in the last couple of days.

“We’re pursuing Thomas. He’s definitely a player I would like to bring back. He’s a player I think, given the right pre-season, can contribute a lot of goals to the club.”

Pressley says Carlisle will need to be patient on that and other potential loan deals, including a Championship striker United have targeted.

Carlisle’s boss says they have a “deal in principle” for the unnamed player.

The Cumbrians remain light on forward options but welcomed one striker trialist into the club for the start of pre-season yesterday, along with two centre-halves.

“I’m quite excited by several of the trialists,” said Pressley, who has not revealed their identities. “I’m looking forward to seeing them.”

Arthur Gnahoua, whose half-season spell at United was ruined by injury, will not be returning to the club. He had featured in a post-season trial week but Pressley is not pursuing any further interest in the winger.

“Arthur’s a good player, but not quite the profile I’m looking at at the moment,” the Blues boss said. “I spoke with him on that and I’m not one to waste people’s time. If I don’t think a player has a chance I wont bring him in on trial – I think that would be wrong on our behalf and not right for the player.”

Carlisle remain in talks over a deal for Gateshead midfielder Tom White, the former Blues youth player, but a deal had not been struck in time for the start of pre-season.

The future of Liam McCarron, meanwhile, remains in the balance, with the Blues in “advanced talks” over the sale of the teenage winger.

Carlisle have not commented on McCarron’s suitors but it is understood Leeds are the leading contenders for the Appleby player.

It was not confirmed whether the 18-year-old was at the club for training yesterday.

On potential incoming transfers, Pressley added: “In terms of permanents, Tom [White] is the only one we are close to at the moment.

“We want to be patient because we don’t want to rush out. We have got players potentially on loan, and some agreements in principle, that we are really keen on and think really fit the club. Unfortunately for supporters it takes a bit longer than we want, but we think it will be worth the wait.”

Pressley had previously said he wanted as many signings as possible done for the start of pre-season with the manager intent on drilling his squad into the fittest shape they can be ahead of the new campaign.

Asked if there was a risk some later loan signings will be behind the rest of the squad in this respect, he said: “That’s a slight risk, but a couple of clubs I know work in a certain way that is very similar to us, so their players will definitely come in good condition.”