Hartlepool United's hopes of bringing in permanent signings before Monday's deadline have been dealt a major blow after two targets turned the club down.
And "gutted" Pools chairman Gary Coxall has revealed the club is now looking to the loan market in a bid to bolster the squad, with Peterborough United's Luke James the No 1 target.
The League Two club had bids for two players accepted but the players in question rejected a move north to play for Pools.
It is now unlikely Pools will be making a permanent signing before the 11pm deadline on Monday night.
SportMail can reveal Pools have made bids for Oxford United striker Danny Hylton, Stockport forward Kristian Dennis, currently on loan at Macclesfield, and Oldham Athletic striker Rhys Murphy.
Pools were also in for midfielder Nigel Atangana, who recently moved from Portsmouth to Leyton Orient for an undisclosed fee, while former midfielder Gary Liddle, currently playing for
Bradford, has also been on the club's radar.
Carlisle United are also tracking 29-year-old Liddle, who left Pools in 2012 to sign for Notts County but he is understood to want to stay in League One.
Coxall admits he is disappointed plans to bring in permanent signings appear to have hit a brick wall, with the club now turning to the loan market.
Coxall, who insisted it wasn't down to money, tweeted: "2 bids accepted by clubs, both players rejected.
"I'm gutted... Now working on a loan deal."
Dennis has courted interest given his impressive form for National League side Macclesfield, with Chesterfield the frontrunners to sign him, while Crawley are tracking Murphy.
A deal to bring James - who left for League One Posh in the summer of 2014 for £500,000 - back to Victoria Park on a half-season loan deal remains on the table.
Pools remain hopeful of being able to thrash out a deal to bring the 21-year-old striker back to The Vic.
Manager Ronnie Moore is frustrated not to have made any further headway following the deals to sign winger Nathan Thomas, from Mansfield, and the loan deal with Bristol Rovers for striker Ellis Harrison.
But Moore has told SportMail he will not sign a player just for the sake of it.
Moore said: "Supporters are saying 'we need to sign someone' – we do, but it’s got to be the right one.
"You can’t dive in for the sake of diving in, but we are trying."