Carlisle United are understood still to be in pole position to sign Hearts striker Cole Stockton after the departure of Shaun Miller.

Sources north of the border say the 23-year-old remains firmly in the Blues' sights despite no deal having yet been struck.

The former Morecambe and Tranmere man today emerged as a top target for United boss Keith Curle after the loan exit of Miller to Crewe.

Carlisle are hoping to see off competition to secure the frontman before this weekend's home clash with Forest Green.

But another name in the frame, Leeds forward Mallik Wilks, now looks less likely to join the Cumbrians, with Grimsby now set to sign the 19-year-old.

United's need to add to their frontline is ever more pressing with Miller having finally completed his return to the Railwaymen.

The 30-year-old rejoined his first club until the end of the season after several days of talks, in a move first revealed by the News & Star on Monday.

If Stockton joins it would be second time lucky for United, after he turned the Blues down last summer in favour of a move to Hearts.

He has not scored in 15 appearances for the Scottish Premiership side and is seeking first-team football having fallen out of favour.

Previously he hit 18 goals in the 2015/16 season - 10 in a half-season loan with League Two outfit Morecambe and eight for parent club Tranmere in the National League.

He has 18 months left on his contract at Tynecastle.

Wilks, 19, is available for a loan move from Leeds, the pacy forward having scored five in 24 appearances in a half-season loan for Accrington this campaign.

Carlisle were believed to be firmly in the hunt for his services but Grimsby have now emerged as his likely destination.

On Miller's move, manager Keith Curle told the Carlisle website: "Shaun is a very professional individual and we've had some good conversations with him recently.

"He's at a stage where he wants to be getting more pitch time and he wants to be playing games regularly.

"This is an opportunity for him to go back to a club he's familiar with, and where he is very highly thought of having started his career with them.

"It goes without saying that Shaun has an exemplary attitude and he's been a pleasure to work with. We wish him well as he goes down to Crewe for the remainder of the season."

Miller has scored six goals in 32 appearances for United this season, making fewer starts than Curle's other main strikers Hallam Hope and Richie Bennett, while the emergence of Sam Cosgrove has also recently kept the experienced forward on the bench.

United have not commented on the Stockton situation, their stance being not to comment until any deals are done.