Fair play to Steven Pressley for what he said after Carlisle’s 1-0 win at Scunthorpe. I know a lot of managers – and we’ve encountered some at Brunton Park – who would have dressed up a performance like that in their post-match interviews.

They would have tried to pull the wool over the fans’ eyes, hoodwinked people into thinking there was method in what happened.

Pressley didn’t do that. He was honest about how poor it was, even in victory.

Before the game Carlisle’s manager had explained the reasons why he picked the team he did, and I feel this part of the build-up on BBC Radio Cumbria benefits all parties. It gives an insight to supporters and means we don’t have that debate during the game when we are trying to work out his thinking.

We knew what his game plan was, but sometimes games of football don’t go according to plan, and for both teams – maybe more so Carlisle – it just didn’t materialise at Glanford Park.

Scunthorpe were the better of the two teams on chances fashioned, certainly in the first half. As Pressley said, you sometimes have these games when you are rubbish, nothing is going right and a lot of your players aren’t at it.

So to come out with a 1-0 win that you probably don’t deserve is an excellent outcome.

It was more of a simple smash-and-grab than the sort of gritty, solid away performance you sometimes get, but who cares?

There have been times when Carlisle have played better and created much more – the draw with Salford springs to mind – so this shows that your fortunes do level out.

From the tone of Pressley’s interviews he won’t get carried away with one win, and let’s hope the players are of the same mindset.

What they can take from it, though, is the fact it has stopped the rot. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you do that.

I have mentioned before the time in the 2005/6 season when we had a four-game losing run under Paul Simpson. We then played Mansfield at home and it was far from a great game.

We could have played horrendously that day. We could have played like Brazil. It didn’t matter – we just needed the win.

We got it, also 1-0, and that reset everything – form, mentality, the supporters’ mood. It got us out of that rut and it felt like a fresh start from there.

Pressley’s players can take heart from a clean sheet, an away win, and get a clearer focus again. They should know what this division is all about now. They should be aware of their individual jobs, and what it takes to get a win.

The manager felt his team looked tired after a busy period of Saturday-Tuesday fixtures. I’ve always said it takes about seven games for you to get fully up to speed and having a week now without a midweek match is probably timely.

With a small squad – and the fact Pressley has named his strongest team in the cup rather than make changes – a bit of fatigue can easily come into things.

Sometimes if you’re not playing brilliantly, and you’re under the cosh, your legs can feel heavier. But it was noticeable on Saturday that as soon as Ryan Loft scored that goal, a lot of individual performances lifted.

Mike Jones, for one, started looking a lot sharper, and the team in general had something to hang onto. That changes the feel of a performance and Scunthorpe had that ‘here we go again’ air about them, having failed to take their earlier chances.

It was a great moment for Loft to get his first goal in first-team football.

If he had scored in the under-23s he would have walked back to the halfway line and nobody would have seen it other than his coaches, a handful of others and only a few more if the academy staff had caught it on camera.

On Saturday, he got to celebrate in front of more than 300 travelling supporters and with his team-mates. Fans who had paid good money to go to Scunthorpe went back up the motorway delighted because of what he did.

He will have been on TV about four times over the weekend and his name was in every paper.

That’s the difference and the value of coming out on loan to League Two instead of staying in your comfort zone.

Scoring a goal in those circumstances is like a drug and the young Leicester loanee should be buzzing, and wanting more and more.

Loft hasn’t been brought in with expectations of getting a heavy number of goals – more as someone who is going to help United in certain situations, with his particular attributes.

But he should be bouncing into training this week ahead of the visit of Exeter, who are unbeaten and top of League Two after six games.

Carlisle shouldn’t fear the Grecians. They have done well against high-flying teams at Brunton Park in the fairly recent past – think of their wins against Bury and Lincoln last season – and in this division, the only truly consistent feature is inconsistency.

A team making a good start can just as easily finish 10th, and vice versa. Exeter normally come out and attack, which I like about them, and hopefully Carlisle are ready to hit them on the break, and show some of the attacking play which wasn’t there on Saturday.


It is always an unsettling time when you are a player at a club which is in the middle of a financial crisis.

I was at Barnsley when we had to defer 50 per cent of our wages. The PFA stepped in to help pay us, which has been seen recently at Bury.

Things were resolved eventually at Barnsley but the players at Gigg Lane haven’t been as fortunate and I feel for everyone who has been affected by the situation there.

It seems that the Bury players were made a lot of promises that it would be sorted out.

I was told that, behind the scenes, they were indeed very confident things would get resolved.

So for a takeover not to go through, and the club to be expelled from the EFL, is devastating.

Some of their players got fixed up with other clubs a while ago. This happened in several cases in the summer; you give your 14 days’ notice and off you go.

But there will be lads there now who didn’t find takers at that time and who instead have had to hang on, hoping, keeping themselves as fit as they could.

They might have to go on trial now and everyone knows how challenging that can be. It could take another month before they’ve proved themselves to another club.

Those players, having not been paid for so long, will have been borrowing off family members and going without.

There will be young players of 20 or 21 on £300 a week who will have been getting nothing for a while.

That is hard. Their own personal debts to places like car dealerships will have been mounting and those sorts of places don’t always show sympathy when you suddenly stop getting paid.

It must have been a horrible few months for them and you just hope as many as possible can come out of it with something positive, somehow.