Steven Pressley believes it is only a matter of time before Carlisle United can land the loan players they need to bolster their squad.

The Blues host Hibernian tonight (Brunton Park, 7.45pm) in their first of six friendlies.

Their pre-season opener is likely to see seven summer signings and four trialists feature.

United’s squad, though, is still light, particularly in attack, with Pressley having said the Blues must be patient to bring in their top targets.

Carlisle have spoken to top-flight and Championship clubs about loanees, and are believed to be close to a deal for a midfielder.

That, though, is unlikely to be done in time for tonight’s game while the wait for attacking reinforcements may take longer.

Pressley, though, says that is simply a consequence of targeting players from higher clubs.

He said: “Clubs have international players who play during the summer, and when it comes to friendly games, they have to fill their first-team and under-23 games.

“They need to keep a lot of players in the building for the first part of pre-season.

“It will slowly but surely change over the coming weeks and we will hopefully get a couple more over the line that we’ve spoken to.

“We know the direction we are going in.”

Tonight’s game against Paul Heckingbottom’s Scottish Premiership visitors is likely to see Pressley hand first opportunities to the trialists still with the Blues.

Ex-Manchester City winger Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, former Cardiff defender/midfielder Tyrone Duffus, Ilkeston striker Elliott Reeves and ex-Swindon and Partick Thistle frontman Miles Storey will be out to impress.

A fifth trialist, Michael Chambers, remains away from the club after he turned out for Wrexham last week.

Permanent summer signings awaiting debuts are Jack Iredale, Christie Elliott, Jon Mellish, Harry McKirdy, Jack Bridge, Byron Webster and Nathaniel Knight-Percival.

The involvement of Hallam Hope will also attract attention in light of ongoing interest in the forward from other clubs. United have not yet been drawn on reports linking Hope with Blackpool.

Hibs, who have already played two pre-season games, are expected to bring a good following which could top the 1,000 mark in the Pioneer Stand.

They are also likely to bring a strong squad to Cumbria.

Pressley said it will be an important exercise for his squad as they start the countdown to the big League Two kick-off.

“Don’t read too much into certain aspects in friendlies,” said United’s manager, who was a favourite in his playing days for Hibs’ Edinburgh rivals Hearts.

“Certain things are key to me in friendlies, but we know they must lead to the first game of the season, when we start being judged properly.

“Pre-season allows you to grow and improve as a team. I think we have some good games and variation, and different styles of football that will ask different questions.

“That is very much what League Two is – you can play one week a team who like to play football, and the following week a team more direct in their play. It’s about being a team that can adapt.

“Hibernian [ideally] probably isn’t a game we would play first because they are a number of weeks ahead of us, but it will be a good test early on.

“The plan is [to give players] a number of minutes each game and build slowly to what we require.”

The Warwick Road End is closed tonight, with the Paddock and B, C and D Stands open to home fans.