Darlington's hopes of signing Michael Bridges were finally dashed last night when he finalised a loan move to Carlisle United.

Quakers boss David Hodgson had been tracking the ex-Sunderland and Leeds United striker and had hoped to add the 26-year-old to his forward ranks following last week's signing of Tresor Kandol.

Bridges was out of favour at Bristol City following the arrival of new boss Gary Johnson just four months after he joined the League One side however, the deal hit a stumbling block as City and Quakers could not come to an agreement over his wages during a loan spell.

Bridges has signed a short-term deal at Brunton Park and he could play against Darlington next month as they travel to Carlisle on Boxing Day.

After being told by Johnson he did not figure in his plans following the sacking of former boss Brian Tinnion, Bridges had made it clear he was seeking a move.

He was not in the squad for City's defeat last Friday at Swindon.

Derby County and Plymouth were also monitoring his situation with a view to a possible move in the January transfer window.

Bridges, a £5m signing by Leeds United from the Black Cats which ended his first spell on Wearside in 1999, made nearly 100 appearances for Sunderland.

He scored 19 goals in 35 Premiership appearances in his first season at Elland Road.

But his time at Leeds was overshadowed by injuries and he joined Newcastle on a three-month loan spell in January 2004.

He briefly returned to Elland Road before signing for Bolton Wanderers on a free in June 2004. But before he made an appearance for Bolton, he was loaned back to Sunderland, who freed him last summer.

Hartlepool were keen on his signature during the summer, but Martin Scott opted against a move and he signed a one-year deal at Bristol.

But the move turned sour following Tinnion's departure and he has made only four full appearances at Ashton Gate, scoring once in a Carling Cup defeat by Barnet.