Steven Pressley admits he may have to change tactics at Carlisle United in a bid to get the stuttering Blues back to better form.

Manager Pressley said it could be time for a rethink over the 4-3-3 system he has mostly used since taking charge.

United have nine games left to keep their play-off hopes alive after Tuesday’s dire 3-1 defeat to Notts County.

The Cumbrians have won just once in their last seven games ahead of this weekend’s six-pointer at Forest Green.

Pressley said: “The system is something I certainly have to look at to get the best out of.

“When I arrived [in January] the system I inherited, that they’d been playing, was 4-3-3, and I said I wanted to bring continuity.

“The system itself is something I need to look at going into the next games, because the personnel has changed. It’s certainly something I’ll be considering.”

One area Pressley knows he must resolve is United’s attack, given January signing Mark Cullen has been ruled out for five to six weeks with a groin injury.

The Blackpool loanee’s absence leaves the Cumbrians without an experienced and recognised No9, with other frontmen such as Hallam Hope and Nathan Thomas preferred in wide positions and teenager Connor Simpson the only other centre-forward.

Pressley used Jamie Devitt as a “false nine” against Notts but suggested he could seek a different option on Saturday.

Asked if United had left themselves short of frontmen after the recent transfer window, the manager said: “I said – and I’ve covered this before – we thought we had a good January.

“It’s very, very difficult in January to get the right personnel in. We worked very hard on that and we’ve had some unfortunate injuries. We’ve lost Arthur [Gnahoua], we’ve lost Mark now, so it’s a little bit of a blow to us.

“But we have to find a way now and [Tuesday night] certainly wasn’t that way.”

Pressley also played down the possibility of Carlisle bringing in a free agent frontman to boost their chances.

He said: “We’d consider that but the problem is none have been brought to our attention, and the other thing is, generally, the ones that are there are not at any level of fitness.

“You see what happens just now if they’re not at a level of fitness, they’re breaking down. It’s a little bit of a difficult situation but we have to deal with it.”

Cullen, Pressley said, suffered a grade two tear in last weekend’s victory against Swindon.

United’s boss added: “It’s a long-term one, so really disappointing.

“He’ll stay here [for treatment], he’s still part of the group and hopefully we’ll get him back before the season ends.

“Absolutely we feel for him. I said this the other week that it was his first 90 minutes at Newport for nearly a year-and-a-half to two years.

“It’s a very frustrating period for him. It’s disappointing for him and for us as a football club.”