Steven Pressley says new dad Kelvin Etuhu’s return for Carlisle United this week has given him a “great” selection dilemma.

Etuhu is finally back in training after spending more than a week away from the club following the birth of his son.

The influential midfielder’s return is an obvious boost for Pressley as he tries to plot a much-needed win against in-form Tranmere.

But Etuhu’s immediate return to the side cannot be guaranteed in light of Mike Jones’ impressive displays in his absence.

Jones was named man-of-the-match in Saturday’s draw against Cambridge having been recalled at Forest Green the previous weekend, both games missed by Etuhu.

Pressley said Etuhu was now ready to resume his season. He said: “As we always experience with our first kid, there’s always that apprehension, but the most important thing is his wife and kid are in good shape, and he seems in good spirits.”

United’s boss added that the decision on whether Etuhu will dislodge Jones, or someone else from his midfield, is the kind of selection headache he welcomes.

“It’s a great thing, to be honest with you,” Pressley said.

“I said after the Forest Green game that I thought Mike’s performance was terrific, and he followed that up with another brilliant performance at the weekend.

“I’m really pleased for him, because his attitude and the way about him is first class, and he deserves his opportunity to be playing the way he does.

“I think also he’s played a big part in the type of football we’ve played. he brings a real composure in that area. If you see quite a lot of our counter-attack movements it’s his initial pass that sets us on our way.

“He’s played a key role in the last two weeks, so it’s a great dilemma to have. I’d rather have that than not. That’s credit to him for creating that.”

Pressley said Macaulay Gillesphey continues to make “good progress” on his way back from a knee injury, while Peter Grant should be back in training either later this week or the start of next.

With seven games left to breathe life back into their play-off bid, Carlisle’s manager said having as many players available as possible will be key.

“The biggest test for us will be Easter weekend,” he said. “I’m hoping by then we’ll have several back.

“When you have a turnaround so quickly at that period you need to utilise your squad, and that’s something I’ll certainly look at that weekend.

“In general, Saturday to Saturday, we’re ok. We get plenty of recovery, and time to prepare, and we’re ok in that respect.”

Pressley, whose side have won once in nine games, maintained his view that his team are heading in the right direction with many parts of their play.

He has called, though, on his defence to be tighter and says he had an “analytical” session with his back four today.

Pressley added: “At the weekend I was really happy with a lot of aspects of our play, but we didn’t win the game, and we’ve got to turn these performances into wins.

“That’s the crucial aspect and it will be the same at the weekend. Although I always look at our performance and analyse the aspects we’re working towards, I know as much as anybody we need to get the three points at this moment in time.”