Carlisle United have suffered a transfer blow after loan target Nathan Thomas joined Gillingham.

The Blues had hoped to bring Sheffield United forward Thomas back after he spent the second half of last season at Brunton Park.

But Gillingham boss Steve Evans has instead captured the 24-year-old on a season-long loan.

The deal was confirmed today and comes despite United having recently made a fresh approach for the ex-Hartlepool man.

Thomas today said it was a "no-brainer" to link up with the Gills in League One.

On the Kent club's website he said: "The club has showed a lot of ambition in the transfer window, and the gaffer has shown what he wants to achieve this season so it was a no brainer for me.

"It’s been ongoing for the best part of two weeks now, and obviously once I found out what he wanted to do this season and the squad he wanted to assemble then he sold the club pretty well.”

Blues boss Steven Pressley last week said Carlisle were "pursuing" Thomas and that he was "definitely" a player he wanted to bring back.

The skilful player scored four goals in 16 appearances for the Blues last term.

He follows Jerry Yates from last season's loanees to have snubbed a return to Brunton Park this summer. Pressley also said last week a return for Callum O'Hare was unlikely.