Chris Beech says he will continue his efforts to bolster Carlisle United’s strikeforce after missing out on two targets.

The Blues’ goalscoring problems were underlined by Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Plymouth.

It was a fourth straight league game at Brunton Park without scoring for the fourth-bottom Cumbrians.

Beech admitted he wants to bring in a striker this month but said he had encountered some frustrations.

He said: “We’ve been talking to lots of attacking players.

“You get so close to many things but it’s difficult when sometimes deals are agent-led, and associations with certain things in terms of finances…

“We’ve been very near, and still are, but of course it’s got to drop in. I’ve got really close to two players that have ended up getting in their [clubs’] first-team squads at this pivotal part of the season – they know of our interest in them, but at the moment they’re not able to come.

“You’ve got to try and move on from that disappointment, from a business sense, and try and find another answer.”

United’s head coach insisted he was still close to adding to his squad, but said: “A lot of the players are cup-tied for Wednesday anyway, or they can’t play because they weren’t registered for the first game, so we can’t use them in the replay [against Cardiff in the FA Cup].

“We are looking for players, of course we are.”

Beech admitted United’s goal struggles were in contrast to Saturday’s opponents, who did land a striker before the game – Blackpool loanee Ryan Hardie, who came off the bench to score.

Asked if the difference underlined what United needed, he said: “I think this season, looking at the goal tally of all the attacking players, it’s an easy sort of objective to answer – the answer’s yes.

“They [Plymouth] have got players there who are very good and are doing very well. Luke Jephcott’s only just got into the team and is scoring freely. Byron Moore’s been doing it and then ends up wing-back. They sign a player from Blackpool – I know they can support that financially, because I have an understanding that they’ve gone all-in on it – and he comes on and scores his goal on his debut.

“They do that because they have the financial resource to do that. I have to try and find a different way to get us scoring goals.”

After Friday’s signing of defender Max Hunt from Derby – he was an unused sub on Saturday – Beech said he and director of football David Holdsworth were working hard on more potential deals in order to improve United’s position at the wrong end of League Two.

He said: “You think it would be dead easy – ‘we want him, right, are you coming, nice one, see you Saturday’ – but it’s just not like that.

“You’ve got agents, you’ve got geographics, and you’ve got the other club involved if it’s a loan player. They hold the cards on that, so it’s hard to get the players you want.

“David’s very good at negotiating in terms of looking after the club’s finances and trying to find an answer and if we can keep building, who knows, maybe in time we can sign a Blackpool player on full wages and there aren’t any grey areas – he comes, he’s here and he scores on his debut.

“At this present time unfortunately we can’t do that.”

Beech, meanwhile, said Jarrad Branthwaite was ill as the in-demand young defender missed a fourth successive game.

“He’s a little bit ill, and he still had that thigh strain he picked up before Walsall,” Beech said, adding that he had “absolutely no knowledge” of any more news regarding a potential move for the 17-year-old.