Steven Pressley insists Carlisle United are still on the right track – because the stats are saying as much.

The Blues sorely need a victory in front of a big travelling support at in-form Tranmere tomorrow to breathe fresh life into their play-off hopes.

A run of one victory from nine has seen United drop into the chasing pack.

But manager Pressley says he has data at his disposal which suggests they have many of the right ingredients.

Asked what should give fans confidence his side can lift their form over the remaining seven games, he said: “We can only give the evidence of the performance.

“Our last three performances – not including Notts County [because of the conditions that night] – have improved greatly.

“If we were a side not creating opportunities, then I’d be concerned. But on the evidence seen, we look a side capable of scoring goals, a side that is creating the moments, and a lot of stats are pointing us in the direction that we’re doing [things] right.

“If you look at the last three games prior to my arrival, statistically we are better than we were in terms of chances created, shots on target and passes.

“In fact last weekend [against Cambridge United] we had two players who smashed their physical data records.

“There’s a lot of really good things. But ultimately we have to turn that type of performance into winning.

“I’m not hiding from the fact we need to take more points and win more games. That’s the bottom line.”

Pressley must tomorrow decide whether to recall Kelvin Etuhu with the midfielder available after missing the last two games following the birth of his son.

Fifth-placed Tranmere are likely to include ex-United centre-half Mark Ellis, and 28-goal leading scorer James Norwood.

United are three points adrift of the top seven and Pressley admits they risk running out of chances if they fail to end their recent win shortage.

“I’ve told the players that – we cannot wait on this moment,” he said.

“This is an unbelievable opportunity that we have to grasp and we have to go there and win.

“I think it is a must-win game. It’s a game we have to go there determined to take all three points. If we don’t, we could find ourselves really having to chase it over the last six games.”

Tranmere are aiming for a seventh straight league win, their current six-game streak their best sequence since 1991.

Pressley added of Micky Mellon’s side: “They’re obviously going very well, confidence is high, and they’ve got a good Scottish manager!

“It will be a really interesting game, a good challenge for us but a challenge I can honestly say we should never fear.

“I genuinely believe if we can play how we are playing, we can certainly win the game.”