Steven Pressley says Carlisle United need as much “support and understanding” as possible as he bids to overcome challenges and make the Blues a success.

United host unbeaten League Two leaders Exeter tomorrow hoping to build on last weekend’s win against bottom side Scunthorpe.

The Cumbrians sit 18th in the fledgling table and Pressley this week highlighted the fact he is working with a squad that does not carry great strength in depth.

This, he said, was underlined by a 5-1 reserve defeat at Sunderland on Monday in which few of those involved pushed their case for a call-up.

Pressley said: “The group have given everything. That [Scunthorpe] was our eighth game in 28 days and a lot of those players have played almost all the minutes.

“When you saw the fringe players playing against Sunderland and losing 5-1, there is just now a situation where we haven’t got huge strength in depth.

“A number of the players we’ve brought in have to come under a certain wage bracket and they are players who are going to take time to develop.

“I’m realistic on that, we can’t hide from that. I’m trying everything to maximise this group of players. I love working with them; there’s a lot of work to be done with them.

“The positives were some of the players that needed game time got game time, and some played 90 minutes for the first time in a long time. From a performance point of view there wasn’t too much to take from it.

“These players [need] a lot of development before they’re ready to play first-team football. Nobody is working harder than the staff in here to move this club football forward but we also need support from outside – we need people to understand what we’re doing and to help us on our journey.

“I think if our supporters can get truly behind this group I think we can create something. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

Hallam Hope, who Pressley has urged to “refocus” after a summer of transfer speculation, is unavailable tomorrow as he is with the Barbados international team. Stefan Scougall (hamstring) is expected to be out for over a month but defender Byron Webster should be fit despite missing training on Tuesday with a hamstring/back problem.

Tomorrow’s visitors will include Carlisle-born striker Ryan Bowman and former Blues defender Tom Parkes.

Pressley said: “They [Exeter] have had an amazing start, they play with a 3-5-2 system and they are aggressive in their football.

“They’re undefeated in the league, are strong defensively and are a very good side that have invested well. They also have good young players from their own academy.

“They’re a wee bit more direct than us, they get the ball into the big striker, and they like to play from him. They like to play aggressively. They’re a good team, there’s no doubt about it. But so are we. Let’s not forget that.

“We should be confident, because we’ve played really well of late and then won the game at the weekend, and we’re back in front of our home supporters. With every game, especially here at Brunton Park, it’s really important we impose our way on them.”