Carlisle United have today clinched the signing of Harrogate Town striker Luke Armstrong.

In their first major piece of transfer business under the Piataks, the Blues have reached an agreement to secure the signing of the 27-year-old.

Armstrong will link up with the Blues immediately although he will not be able to play for Paul Simpson's side until January.

Speculation had grown about United's interest in the League Two frontman with Simpson refusing to confirm or deny the impending deal on Saturday.

But the Cumbrians have now confirmed that Armstrong will be part of their squad for their bid to secure their League One status in the new year.

In a joint statement, United said: "Harrogate Town, Carlisle United and Luke Armstrong can each confirm they have all reached and completed an agreement for a permanent transfer on 1 January 2024.

"Having already successfully completed his medical at Brunton Park, Luke will now leave Town with immediate effect to begin training with United, pending the opening of the transfer window and transfer of his registration."

News and Star: Luke Armstrong and Joe Garner, pictured during United's Bristol Street Motors Trophy game this season, will be team-mates next monthLuke Armstrong and Joe Garner, pictured during United's Bristol Street Motors Trophy game this season, will be team-mates next month (Image: Ben Holmes)

Armstrong will strengthen United's attack at the start of January as Paul Simpson begins the process of reshaping his squad for the survival fight - and improving an attack which has scored just 17 goals in 21 league games so far.

He is expected to be the first of a host of transfer window signings as the Piatak family back the Blues boss financially to try to deliver third-tier safety.

The attacker is the second recruit under the new ownership after last month's arrival of free agent defender Josh Emmanuel.

Simpson is expected to strengthen in a number of positions, while he has also been linked with another familiar face in attack in the form of Wigan Athletic's ex-Blues striker Charlie Wyke as well as the Bohemians striker Jonathan Afolabi.

Armstrong has long been tipped for a move away from Harrogate and was on the brink of joining big-spending League Two club Wrexham in the summer transfer window.

But the deal was dashed at the last minute when the EFL ruled that paperwork for the deal - which had otherwise been agreed - had been submitted after the transfer deadline.

Details of United's deal, in terms of transfer fee and length of contract, have not yet been revealed. A possible debut for Armstrong will come on January 6 at Exeter City.

Simpson and Carlisle were linked with Armstrong in the summer but the Blues boss then told the News & Star the striker was out of the club's reach financially. He said a fee of £500,000 was being demanded by Harrogate and the player's wage demands were also prohibitive.

The striker has scored 31 goals in 116 appearances for Harrogate, after previous spells with Hartlepool United, Salford City, Accrington Stanley and Gateshead.

Just one of those goals has come in 15 outings this season - a campaign which started with Armstrong withdrawing from the Sulphurites squad amid summer transfer interest.

Harrogate boss Simon Weaver recently said he had left Armstrong out of his squad in light of what happened in the summer. "Obviously he wants to get his move. I just want to concentrate on playing the players that are going to be available from January onwards," Weaver said last month. His most recent appearance for Harrogate actually came at Brunton Park in Carlisle's 2-0 win in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy on November 14.

Last term Armstrong hit 16 in 51 outings after firing 14 in 50 appearances the previous season. One of last season's goals came against Carlisle in the 3-3 draw with Harrogate at the EnviroVent Stadium (watch below), while the previous term he also scored the winner against the Blues in the Papa John's Trophy.