Steven Pressley says “absolute commitment” from his Carlisle United team is all he can promise supporters ahead of the new campaign.

The Blues kick off 2019/20 against Crawley tomorrow after a summer of heavy squad change at Brunton Park.

A host of new signings will be involved in the opener with United keen to start the season on the right foot.

Pressley said anticipation is building and added: “More than ever, I really can't wait.

“When I see my players working hard over the course of the pre-season, it's really important that, after all that hard work, we don't let ourselves down.

“I can promise [fans] that they will get hard work. They will get absolute commitment from this group of players and this staff. There is nothing more than that I can promise them.”

Pressley said the early stages of the season are not always a perfect guide to how the rest of a long campaign will go.

But Carlisle’s boss, ahead of his first full term in charge, said it is crucial his team begin well.

“I think the early part of the season can set you up nicely, bring a confidence to your team and a real excitement to your supporters,” he said.

“This part of the season sometimes is a little bit untrue. We play on nice pitches all the time, the sun is shining, we all enjoy it and turn up with t-shirts on. But then the real stuff starts at some time in November.

“The truth is you have to get yourselves into a good position before the difficult months if you are going to have a real chance of challenging.

“So, I think it's really important we get off to a good start.

“I was delighted when the fixtures came out and we were at home – I thought that was the most important factor. Now, if we play with the intensity and pressure that we want to play with, then I think we can be an exciting team.”

Pressley expects a tough opening-day test against Gabriele Cioffi’s Red Devils, who finished eight places below Carlisle in 19th last season.

The Blues did the double over the Sussex outfit in 2018/19, once under John Sheridan and then under Pressley, a 4-2 win on the penultimate weekend when Nathan Thomas starred.

“It will be a difficult game, that's the bottom line,” Pressley said. “We have watched their last two games from pre-season. They are well-organised, they understand their roles and responsibilities.

“The coach is somebody that I have become friends with he is on one of my League Managers Association diploma certificates that we are doing just now.

“He is a really good guy. He is an intense football man and I know his team will be well-organised. So, that part of it I have no doubts.

“For me, the biggest part of it is ourselves. That's what I have been stressing. We have been going through a lot of phases in our play and, for me, we have to impose ourselves on this game.”

Pressley stressed he was pleased with the “characters” he has brought in but said United’s prospects of challenging at the top end of the table will be determined by their goalscoring prowess.

He also said he has handed the job of setting United’s goals in 2019/20 to his squad.

“This week, I will know what the players are expecting because I have put it on to them,” he said. “I have laid everything on the table, I have been very clear and transparent with the players and I have said to them 'What do you think you can achieve?’ When I get that answer, I'll let you know.”