Steven Pressley accepts that talk is cheap regarding Carlisle’s dwindling play-off hopes – and only results can change the mood of supporters.

The United manager is refusing to give up on their top seven chances despite a run of poor form which has seen them fall out of direct contention.

One win in 10 has put Carlisle three points outside the play-off places with inferior goal difference to many rivals too.

Bookies are also writing off their chances of reaching League One with their odds now as long as 35/1.

Their predicament has the Blues needing to win a number of their remaining six games to stand a realistic chance of forcing their way back in.

With just one victory since January that prospect may seem remote.

Asked if his players had enough wins in them, Pressley said: “I cannot say that – the reality is we need to prove it, that’s the only way.

“I could stand here and say, ‘Yes, we’ve got the ability [to win enough games]’ but we have to show it.

“At this moment in time we’re not showing that. We’re showing a work ethic, and the desire, but not enough to suggest at this moment in time we can do it.

“Three points [as the gap] still gives us hope, but we keep missing the chances and we have to do something about that.”

Pressley is now preparing for a clash with third-placed Bury at Brunton Park which is set to be another crucial afternoon in United’s campaign.

The Shakers, who are in action tonight against Cambridge, have lost just once in their last 15 league games.

Ryan Lowe’s side are also odds-on to win at Brunton Park.

Pressley, who faced calls for his head from some travelling fans in United’s 3-0 defeat at Tranmere, says all involved at the Blues must continue to show the stomach for the fight.

“It’s about mentality, having the courage to keep going,” the manager said.

“If I see my players working hard like they did [on Saturday], I’ve not got a problem. I know that we’re not far away from turning the corner.

“I’ve got a complaint about the result, about the small details, the two corners [from which we conceded], but I haven’t got a complaint about the work ethic and desire of my group.

“Of course confidence is drained when you don’t get results, it’s normal, but in terms of the work rate, no complaints.

“I know the results have to improve. Nobody needs to tell me that but I’m certainly determined.”

Also in League Two tonight, Tranmere will aim for an eighth straight win against Oldham which could move the in-form Wirral outfit closer to the automatic places.

Reports in the North East, meanwhile, have claimed Hartlepool wanted to take Jason Kennedy on loan in January for the rest of the season, but the deal fell through as the Blues only wanted to let the midfielder out for a month.