WARRINGTON Town manager Paul Carden says there is light at the end of the tunnel in his search for central defenders.

Yellows’ defensive ranks have been decimated from last season, with Liam Goulding and Jack Higgins both leaving the club for pastures new.

Skipper Jay McCarten remains at Cantilever Park, but has had an ankle operation which may keep him out for the start of the Evo-Stik Premier Division season.

Carden has so far been frustrated in his pursuit of his defensive targets, with several trialists being brought in with the hope of earning a deal.

READ: Match report and pictures from Warrington Town's defeat to Stockport

However, with their opening game against Farsley Celtic just over three weeks away, the Town boss is confident there will be movement soon but says he is not looking for “stop gaps.”

“It’s massively evident where we’re weak. It’s no secret that we’re looking to strengthen in central defence," he said.

“It has been frustrating, but Jay McCarten has had his operation so that should be tidied up soon.

“In the Conference and Conference North, you have lads who are training with clubs and will have got an answer this week.

“With that, we have our eye on one or two who could be available.

“There’s no point me bringing people in as stop-gaps.

“I want to bring people in who are of the same quality as what we have further up the pitch. That’s what we have to be aiming for.”

Despite their problems at the back, Carden says he has been impressed with how his side are shaping up in attack.

He also says he is aiming to tie up deals to add some of the club’s attack-minded trialists to his squad permanently.

“Offensively, I think we look good,” he said.

“We have creativity, we have presence and I’m pleased with that aspect of our game.

“I’d like to do something with the forward players we have on trial.

“They know that and they seem happy enough to do so.

“We’ll be sitting down with them to see if we can sort something out.”

Yellows’ two pre-season friendlies this week both ended 4-1, with Saturday’s victory over Runcorn Town being followed by a defeat to Stockport County on Tuesday.

Their next two games see them visit Ashton Town on Saturday, kick off 3pm, before hosting Welsh Premier League side Bangor City on Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Carden says now is the time to move preparations for the new campaign up a gear.

Striker Jamie McDonald was substituted during the win over Runcorn with an ankle injury, but the Yellows boss says the knock is “no big concern.”

“Jamie rolled his ankle against Runcorn on Saturday. He feels a lot better but there is a bit of soreness as he’s turning,” he said.

“It happens when pitches are hard, especially given the way Jamie runs and plays.

“He’s always going to be susceptible to that kind of injury but it’s no big concern for us.

“It’s time for us to move to the next level now. We need to look to reduce numbers a bit.

“I think we are there or thereabouts in terms of fitness. We are in a good place there.

“We’re building towards what we’re doing and we’re giving players opportunities to make competition for the league season.”