Gnahoua a target?

Last updated : 20 January 2019 By Paddock Pundit

Steven Pressley set the stage for a major spell of transfer work at Carlisle United by saying he has the green light to bring in as many as FIVE new players.

The new boss, whose reign got off to a winning start against Cheltenham, hopes the breakthrough will now come in the market.

Among the players United are understood to be interested in is winger Arthur Gnahoua, who left Shrewsbury on Friday.

He is among several potential targets as director of football David Holdsworth tries to clinch deals. 

The transfer moves come as Carlisle sit fourth in League Two after Saturday’s 2-0 win.

Pressley said: “It [the victory] tells me the players have a good mentality, but there’s no doubt that in the next week or so that we have to get recruits in.

“From what I’m hearing from David, I think we can recruit as many as five players, and that’s very encouraging.

“We’re gonna work very hard on that. We’re a little bit short of course in attacking areas of course.

“One of the key ingredients is the character of the [signings]. One, I want a player that wants to come here, that’s really important, and two, that he fits into the dressing room.

“It’s a very good group with, in my opinion, some good characters. We don’t want any bad apples in amongst that. The character is key.

“When you are on a good run it’s the time to recruit. We hope to get a number of players in.”

The 26-year-old former Fylde loanee Gnahoua is believed to have been on Carlisle’s radar for some time.

United were unable to conclude a deal for one target last Friday but hope to push through a deal for the unnamed player this week.

Pressley added that United’s bid to extend Jack Sowerby’s loan would not fail “for the sake of trying, or for the sake of not paying the money”, but conceded the matter was in the hands of parent club Fleetwood.

The midfielder has one game left of his current spell.

Pressley, meanwhile, praised his players and United’s supporters after his tenure got off to a successful start.

Jamie Devitt and Hallam Hope struck in the second half to get the Blues back to winning ways.

On United’s support, the 45-year-old said: “They gave me a great reception.

“I’m not deluded, I know I’ll have to continue to win games. That’s the nature of the football industry. Us managers have to get results and I’m no different.

“But it was a nice response from them. Hopefully I can build up a very strong relationship with them.

“I can’t speak highly enough about the group of players. When I spoke to them before the game, one thing I emphasised is we can work towards a tactical plan, but the real winning of the game is due to the players. A lot’s made of tactics but if you don’t get the basics right, win one-to-one battles, run that 70 yards to help your team-mate then you don’t win games of football.

“We saw that in abundance. The lads were terrific.”

Pressley explained his decision to cover United’s striker shortage by using star man Devitt in a more advanced attacking role.

He said: “I asked Dev to play as a false nine, between the deepest midfield player and pressuring the middle centre back, and he did that brilliantly.

“On the turnover he finds those pockets, you get he likes of H [Hope] and Liam [McCarron] running through on the sides, and that’s what we’d worked towards.

“We made three or four points at half-time that I thought we could improve on, and would help us get the result.

“You can [have] tight encounters for 55-60 minutes and then the game begins to open up, and it suits us – we stay compact and tight in our shape, then we began to take opportunities to counter attack with real speed.

“It was a really good outcome for us, a real team performance, and the boys should be really proud of their work.

“We’ll not get ahead of ourselves. It was a step forward, and we’re in a good position, with 17 games to go. We have to win the vast majority of those games to have a real chance of promotion, but that’s our intention.”

As he begins his first full week at the helm, meanwhile, Pressley said he had quickly been made to feel a big part of Brunton Park.

“I had a really nice couple of days – on Thursday and Friday I was made very welcome,” he said.

“The most important thing is winning games of football. Winning gives the club a feel-good factor. The arrival of a manager always changes the kind of feeling - not that it needed changing, but the most important thing at any club is to win.”

He also praised the role played by former caretakers Tommy Wright and Paul Murray, who look set to remain as a key part of his backroom team.

“I think I don’t need to say too much on that,” Pressley said. “The transition for me has been great, they’ve made me exceptionally welcome. I’ve tried to continue the good work they’ve already done.”

The Scot also enjoyed having some of his family at Brunton Park to watch the successful start of his reign.

He said: “My mother and sister were here, and my friend was down here so it was good for them to see.

“My son plays football as well, on a Saturday, so of course my wife’s priority is not her husband, it’s her son!

“But my mother was here ….my mum’s been coming since I was a young player, she’s very nervous about everything, she’s often wished I was involved in a different profession as mothers do, but she’ll be very pleased today.”