Steven Pressley insists Carlisle United’s season must be taken one game at a time despite growing criticism of the Blues’ predicament.

The United boss is under increased pressure after the Cumbrians’ fall to fifth-bottom in League Two.

There is a break from league duties tonight when Carlisle host Blackpool in the Trophy (Brunton Park, 7.45pm).

After that United will prepare for the long trip to Plymouth in the league.

Their slide to 20th came with Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Crewe, during and after which some fans called for Pressley’s head.

Pressley was asked if Carlisle’s season was now all about survival, given their lowly position.

The manager said: “We are where we are, that’s the reality of the situation. We have to do something about it.

“I don’t look upon it as any sort of situation other than we have to try and win our next game.

“That is the most important thing. We have to focus in on that.”

He said he would make a number of changes tonight for a Trophy tie which is again likely to bring a small crowd to Brunton Park.

Their first northern group G game in the controversial competition, against Wolves under-21s, drew an official attendance of just 893, the third smallest in the ground’s history.

Victory would keep alive their hopes of progress but defeat to Simon Grayson’s League One outfit would end Carlisle’s interest in the Trophy.

A much-altered side could again give opportunities to the likes of Jarrad Branthwaite, Louis Gray, Jon Mellish, Canice Carroll, Ryan Loft and Elias Sorensen.

Pressley said: “A little bit like the Wolverhampton game, we’ll make the changes.

“I think it’s important we give some of the players on the periphery of things the game time, and [the chance] to continue in their improvements.

“Of course it’s a game, make no mistake, that we want to win.”

Pressley said at the weekend that he would “fight” rather than “down tools” amid United’s struggles.

There has so far been no indication from the club hierarchy of their take on the situation, with directors unavailable for comment over the weekend.

Director of football David Holdsworth is, though, set to face questions from the local media today.

Pressley, meanwhile, underlined his faith in the character of his players despite Carlisle’s recent displays.

He said: “I’ve said this time and time again that we have a group of players who want to do well for this club, that are trying to do well, and it’ll take a little bit of time.

“It’ll take perseverance, it’ll take character through these difficult times, but we’ll get there.

“If you want to speak to the players, they’ll tell you what they think. Nobody’s hiding anything, I’ve been transparent on everything. We’ve got a brilliant group of players. They need help, they need improvements but we’ve got a brilliant group of players.”