Steven Pressley says further additions at Carlisle United are unlikely before January after saying: “We’ve spent the budget.”

Although the transfer window for lower-league clubs closed on Monday, free agents can still be signed.

The United manager, though, played down that prospect and will instead work with the players at his disposal.

He said people have to be realistic with their view of the Blues given their present financial approach.

Asked if he felt he had enough in his squad after making no deadline-day additions, Pressley said: “I hope so. You need to understand we’ve spent the budget. We can only recruit what we have the resource to recruit.

“We’ve not got a huge squad with depth of players with great experience.

“That’s where we are and we have to understand that.

“My job, along with my staff, is to make sure we continue maximising this group and improving our young development players, and players we’ve brought in – the likes of Mo Sagaf – and get the best out of them.

“That’s my job. I’m going to work tirelessly to do that.”

Asked if he was looking at the free agent market, he added: “At this moment I don’t think that’s going to happen. We are where we are and we’re going to work hard with this group of players.”

United’s deadline day proved uneventful, with a late bid for Hallam Hope knocked back by the club.

Reflecting on the club’s work overall in the summer window, Pressley said: “Like any manager, we’d all love more resource, that’s the reality of it.

“But considering the resource we’re working with, I believe and think we’ve recruited reasonably well.

“But we have to be understanding of the resource. At this moment in time this is a club that’s revamped a number of aspects, we’re a club that wants to run a sustainable model and part of that is quite a lot of development players within the group that come in at the right financial levels – it will take time.”

Pressley confirmed that the offer for Hope had come in too late for the club to consider parting with the striker.

“At 4pm I spoke to David [Holdsworth, director of football] and we decided by then if anything else was to happen, we weren’t in a position where we could act quickly enough to accept anything.

“Between me talking to him and the close of business, there was a late offer put in there, but I don’t know anything of that offer.

“The window has closed and now Hallam knows his focus is here at Carlisle.”

Pressley said he hoped the forward would now be fully focused on returning to form for the Blues now his hopes of a summer move have been dashed.

The frontman, currently away on Barbados international duty, had indicated he wanted to play at a higher level, while other League Two clubs also showed interest.

On the summer’s speculation, Pressley said: “I do think it’s affected him. I’ll be perfectly honest, I do.

“I think Hallam has not been fully focused in his job here. It’s been unsettling for him that there’s been interest in the summer.

“That’s why for him and the club the closure of the window’s a good thing.

“Now we know for the next four or five months this is where he’s going to be.

“If he is going to leave at the end of this season or in the January window, you’ve got to earn the right to leave. If that’s the case hopefully we’ll see the best of Hallam Hope between now and then.

“There’s a lot of noise in the background, a lot of distractions, [when] you don’t know whether you’re going to be here or not. We know the psychological aspects of football are so important. If that’s affected him it can affect performance.

“Hopefully now we’ll see a really refocused player who can reproduce the goals that were so important to the team last year.”

Asked if he was confident Hope would be in the best frame of mind when he returns to United action, Pressley said: “I hope so. I can’t give any guarantees.

“If Hallam is to want to progress his career like he says he does, you only progress your career by performing.

“You’re forgotten about in football quickly. You can have a great season, then it doesn’t work and you’re forgotten about quickly.

“The top players don’t just do it one year, they do it every year. That’s the sign of a top player. He has to show he’s capable of playing at a higher level by performing.”

Pressley suggested he would not be spending too much time speaking to Hope about the situation now the window has closed.

“I’ve spoken to Hallam a number of times during this period, it’s not always [been] easy for him but now there doesn’t need to be much else said.

“He knows now this is where he’s going to be and needs to fight to get back in the team and play regularly. Because there is competition there this season and if he wants to play, he has to perform.”