Steven Pressley says Carlisle United can not simply assume they will roll over beleaguered Notts County tonight.

The Blues have a big chance to build on their return to the play-off places when they entertain the EFL’s bottom club (Brunton Park, 7.45pm).

Notts are seven points adrift of safety and have some of the worst stats in the country, having shipped 70 goals and won only six league games, just two away from home.

The Magpies are heading for Cumbria off the back of their latest heavy defeat, a 4-1 loss at Cheltenham. Pressley, though, says United must prepare for Neal Ardley’s side to play with pride.

He said: “Notts County are fighting for their lives at this moment in time and we’ll certainly not be taking anything for granted.

“We’ll prepare properly as we always do, and will give them the respect that a football club of that size deserves.

“I would imagine, if they [Notts] have the right players in there, they’ll have a pride about themselves and they’ll be determined to put things right.

“I don’t know how the dressing room is there but from my own experiences, when you have a setback like they have had, if you have the right characters you’ll come here and try to turn things around. That’s what I expect.”

Pressley will be forced into at least one change tonight with striker Mark Cullen set to miss out as he has a groin injury assessed.

United’s boss must also decide whether to recall midfielder Kelvin Etuhu after his effective substitute display in Saturday’s victory against Swindon.

Nathan Thomas will be pushing for a call-up against the club where he spent the first half of this season on loan from Sheffield United. It will also be a reunion for Blues keeper Adam Collin, who left Notts last summer.

Pressley said each game from now until May will carry an extra weight of expectation no matter who seventh-placed Carlisle play. He added that they must match the desperation for points that other clubs will undoubtedly show.

“That’s one of the challenges of this time of the season. There aren’t that many clubs that aren’t fighting for something,” he said.

“There’s a number of clubs who believe they can make a late surge for the play-offs, and then teams who don’t want to get dragged down into the relegation fight.

“All the games have a degree of pressure and a degree of real competitive edge just now. There is no easy game between now and the end of the season.”

He added: “It’s another opportunity for us, but we have to improve from [Saturday] and take a bit more belief from it. If we do that, I’m hopeful we can get the right result.”

Notts’ ex-Carlisle defender Shaun Brisley could again miss out tonight having fallen out of favour following a string of January signings.

Visiting boss Ardley has branded the Magpies’ defensive record as “embarrassing” but said he must pick his side up and get them “digging in and fighting”.