I was sad to learn of the death of Carlisle United legend Peter McConnell.

He got up once a year, just to stay with me. He took me under his wing, really, he was just that kind of guy. He led the Blues to consecutive promotions.

That was a really good era for the club in the 1960s and it would be great if Steven Pressley could help bring more Carlisle success as they kick-off their competitive 2019/20 campaign at home to Crawley tomorrow.

I think the first six to eight matches of the league season are the most important.

Last season, the Blues didn’t get off to a good start, especially at home. For me, getting early points on the board is crucial. It allows United to cement a decent early league position and then you can start to look up the League Two table.

Carlisle boss Pressley has managed to bring quite a few players in, but there is no hiding the fact it has been a challenging close-season in some ways. As a fan, I’m disappointed by the current lack of attacking options the Blues have.

United could easily have gone down the route Bury have gone down of earning promotion but then starting this season on minus 12 points.

It’s not just Carlisle who have to work hard to remain on a decent financial footing at the moment, though, there probably are about a dozen more sides which are in a similar sort of position.

On the pitch, it seems like Pressley has worked his United squad hard in pre-season. But it’s only actual games that help players to get their match sharpness back.

While the results of friendlies in pre-season don’t matter too much, there are, however, times when you can take confidence from friendly results. I remember being involved when a Carlisle team beat Celtic 1-0 back in 1969.

I didn’t go myself to the Blues’ 3-1 win against League One's Tranmere, but those that did told me it was a good performance.

It seems former United striker Ashley Nadesan, who has signed for Crawley, will miss tomorrow’s Brunton Park opener with an ankle injury.

That will be a blow for Gabriele Cioffi’s team, but I know Pressley has said this week they have a fairly big squad, so I’m sure they will have someone capable of filling the void the 24-year-old has left.

Of those who have so far signed for Carlisle on loan, they have joined on season-long loans.

That’s encouraging because, when Jerry Yates, Nadesan and Jack Sowerby left in January, that’s when the Cumbrians suffered, really.

The loan system is one of the main factors in forming a successful side in the lower leagues now, in my opinion.

Of course, you do need good players of your own but, if you can get that and then bring in another three or four players on loan from a higher level who can have a positive impact at the club, then it gives you a real chance of being successful.

Pressley has also managed to, hopefully, bring in the right kind of players, so he can implement his own style of play this season. When he initially linked up with the Brunton Park outfit in January, he was taking over John Sheridan’s squad, really.

To his credit, Pressley said he knew what he was getting into and, hopefully, he can really make his own mark now.