Steven Pressley has pledged to give further pre-season opportunities to Carlisle’s young players after several caught the eye against Hibs.

The Blues - hoping to clinch a deal for a Premier League loan midfielder today - was impressed with his home-grown youngsters on Tuesday.

Among those to figure were promising 17-year-old defender Jarrad Branthwaite and first-year pros Keighran Kerr and Josh Dixon, the latter having yesterday been handed a new two-year deal at Brunton Park.

Youth team players Taylor Charters, Charlie Birch and Jamie Armstrong were also involved in the second half against Carlisle’s Scottish Premiership visitors.

Pressley, whose side face Penrith in their second friendly tomorrow (Frenchfield Park, 3pm), said: “For some of those kids it was the biggest game they’ve ever played in. It was a really great experience for them and I think it’s great for the club – it energises the club when young players are getting the opportunity.

“I thought Josh acquitted himself brilliantly for 60 minutes. That was his first appearance since recovering from a cruciate knee injury. He’s applied himself brilliantly in training and I was chuffed to bits for him. I’m sure he had very proud parents in the stand.

“When I arrived at the club and enquired about our younger players, of course Liam McCarron was very much the one everybody talked about, and soon after that we saw the emergence of Branthwaite. I was told beforehand that Dixon was really the player everybody had talked about prior to his cruciate knee injury.

“It’s really refreshing to see that. It’s also great experience for our other young players who attended the game and for me it’s a real driving force for them in terms of that’s where they want to be.

“My history has always been in promoting young players from within. Young players want to play for the club, they have a real desire to be a success, and that energy also reflects well on the senior players.

“We had six or seven young players walking out of the stadium feeling good about themselves, and that’s really good for us.”

Presley said most players will get 45 minutes against Andy Coyles’ Northern League Division One team tomorrow. He also wants to use the “multiball” system that featured on Tuesday, which involved ball-boys issued with extra balls to the game can be restarted as quickly as possible.

“We spoke about quick restarts,” he said. “Sometimes you can play pre-season games and don’t get a great deal out of them physically. But it was all about that [on Tuesday]. The intensity of the game was really high considering it was our first pre-season game.

“Hibs are a long way ahead of us in their own preparation, but in terms of what I got out of it and what I believed the players got out of it, I think it’s a lot more than expected.

“I never get ahead of myself in pre-season. But the way we went about things was exactly what we wanted.”

Hallam Hope could again feature tomorrow, with his future still the subject of speculation due to interest from Blackpool and other clubs. Keeper Adam Collin, the only senior player not used on Tuesday, could get his first pre-season outing.

The prospect remains of an eighth summer signing also figuring, with the Blues working hard to conclude a deal. They are seeking a season-long loan for the midfielder, who has been targeted from an early stage this summer. Pressley, after Carlisle’s 4-3 defeat to Hibernian on Tuesday, said he anticipated the player would arrive before the end of the week and that remains the aim.

Carlisle’s manager said he is hoping for progress with striker targets next week.

Pressley is again likely to run the rule over four trialists at Frenchfield Park tomorrow with Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, Elliott Reeves, Tyrone Duffus and Miles Storey getting another chance to impress. They will get the Penrith game and next Tuesday’s trip to Chester before United’s boss makes decisions on their future.