Harry McKirdy gave the perfect response to being left out of the Carlisle United side, says manager Steven Pressley.

The former Aston Villa man inspired Carlisle’s comeback attempt at Rochdale after coming off the bench.

A superb run earned the Blues a penalty while McKirdy could easily have won another spot-kick when his cross appeared to be handled.

Pressley said the fleet-footed forward cannot expect to start every game but has gone about things the right way since being omitted from the starting line-up for the last two games.

“We got that from Fela [Olomola] at Cheltenham, and we got it from Harry [at Rochdale],” the manager said.

“I told the group we’re a small group and every player will play a pivotal part.

“You can be out of the team four games then play the next 10. But it’s all about the team and I’ll make decisions that I think are right for the team.

“Harry’s a young player that hasn’t experienced playing week-in, week-out, and there’ll be periods when he plays and when he doesn’t. But that’s the type of reaction we want.”

Pressley also said Canice Carroll is working his way up to full sharpness after making his first appearance since the second game of the season.

The Brentford loan midfielder, back from suspension, impressed when he came off the bench in the cup defeat at Spotland.

Carroll could be a contender to start at Scunthorpe on Saturday, especially if United’s midfield is affected by injuries.

Pressley said: “We’re disappointed he got sent off [at Swindon] and we missed him for three games, but one of the interesting things is he didn’t have much game time during the pre-season. In fact his game time was very low.

“We’ve been working him physically. Even [at Rochdale] I could tell he’s still a little bit away.

“He’ll need some games, no doubt about it, but I think you can see he brings a real physical presence.”