Carlisle United are set to sign a new forward today as the Blues move to fill the void left by Hallam Hope.

The Blues are understood to be on the brink of a deal for a frontman to replace Hope, who joined Swindon this week.

The new face, who has been at Brunton Park this week for talks, should be in the squad to face Walsall tomorrow as Chris Beech’s side seek a much-needed League Two win.

With United having lost one of their more experienced frontmen in Hope, it is believed the Blues have been targeting a replacement who also has plenty of games under his belt.

The club have not yet commented on the imminent deal, but will hope the new addition can increase their goal threat with the fourth-bottom Cumbrians desperately seeking to escape relegation trouble.

It will take their tally of January signings to five after the earlier additions of Elliot Watt, Max Hunt, Joshua Kayode and Nick Anderton, with the latter three in the frame for home debuts tomorrow.

Their arrivals have come as Hope joined Everton-bound Jarrad Branthwaite through the exit door, the ex-Bury man joining the League Two leaders for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.

With a week left of the transfer window it is understood the Blues, who are just four points off the bottom of the table, are also seeking further new faces.

The focus is believed to be in attack and midfield, with enquiries and offers having been lodged with more targets. Immediate recruitment in defence appears to be complete with the recent addition of Derby centre-half Hunt, who made his debut at Oldham last weekend, and ex-Blackpool man Anderton.

Carlisle are also trying to offload some of their out-of-favour players but there has not yet been any outward movement.

It is understood United are pushing to secure a loan move for at least one senior player who has not been in the first-team picture recently. Other efforts concern Carlisle’s loan players who have been short of starts under head coach Chris Beech.

The Cumbrians have six loanees on their books and can only include five in a matchday squad. Both Canice Carroll and Olufela Olomola have been omitted recently but, with the pair on season-long loans, decisions rest largely in the hands of parent clubs Brentford and Scunthorpe respectively.

Other loanees Watt, Nathan Thomas and Ryan Loft have been used more regularly with Kayode having only just joined from Rotherham.

Beech, meanwhile, has also challenged those out of favour to prove that they deserve a fresh chance. Midfielder Jack Bridge was among those left out at Oldham and he scored for the reserves in their 3-0 win at Blackpool on Tuesday. The head coach said: “You’ve got to make these decisions. I look at the goals we concede, the standards I’m trying to have. It’s definitely not personal. It’s 100 per cent up to him [Bridge] that he plays. That’s the player’s challenges, not mine.”

Beech insisted that another player left out at Oldham, Jack Iredale, had been unfortunate to be dropped, having played well against Cardiff in the FA Cup replay but then sidelined due to Aaron Hayden’s return to suspension and Gethin Jones’ switch to left-back.

“With everybody else, I think we need to make our standards more consistent and higher,” the United boss added.

Iredale is also fighting for his left-back place with new signing Anderton, whose readiness for a first-team call-up will be assessed by Beech after his hour of reserve action on Tuesday – his first outing since October after a leg injury.

Beech said he anticipates a response from Iredale to the challenge of another rival for his place. He added: “Eventually, one day, with a bit of luck and about three transfer windows, we can get to a point of having two players for each position and it’s really competitive.”

Beech could have Jon Mellish back after he missed the Oldham draw due to heavy swelling to an eye injury. Walsall, who have lost just twice in 11 games, could include new loan midfielder Nathan Sheron.