New Carlisle United manager Steven Pressley admits he is thrilled to have joined a club chasing promotion after spending most of his dugout career fighting against relegation.

The former Scotland, Hearts, Celtic and Rangers defender was unveiled as John Sheridan’s successor at the League Two outfit yesterday after signing a six-month deal, which the club have the option to extend at the end of the campaign.

Pressley had steered Pafos away from danger in the Cypriot top-flight last season before being dismissed in October and also guided Fleetwood Town to safety during his spell at Highbury stadium.

The 45-year-old’s first managerial post at Falkirk ended in disappointment when the Bairns lost their top-flight status in 2010, while his two-year tenure at Coventry City was blighted by off-field issues.

But with Carlisle currently in the play-off places - seven points adrift of leaders Lincoln City, Pressley admits his new challenge is refreshing.

He said: “It’s very exciting, when you look back on my managerial career thus far, my first two jobs (at Falkirk and Coventry) were about stabilising football cubs financially and developing young players.

“My next two jobs were survival jobs. Going in at Fleetwood, second bottom, and retaining League One status and then at Pafos this time last year, which was slightly warmer, but staving off the threats of relegation.

“Coming here in a situation in the play-off place is a very exciting opportunity, great credit has to go to John and his staff and the players for getting the club into this position and my aims are to certainly try and achieve promotion this year.”

Pressley, who will take charge of his first game in Saturday’s league visit of Cheltenham, admits the strain of fighting against relegation differs hugely from targeting promotion.

He added: “It’s much better because fighting off relegation is very difficult, there are a lot of pressures that go with it.

“It’s not only the disappointment of relegations, at many cubs it can affect peoples’ livelihoods, a drop in finances and unemployment - and all that pressure is a huge burden on the manager. It’s huge pressure to take.

“Coming here, hopefully we can continue the success and gain promotion.

“Every job comes with its own pressure, I would rather the pressures of expectation rather than what I’ve endured in the past.”

Carlisle chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “He impressed us immensely during the interview process and his enthusiasm to take what is a very attractive job on really shone through.

“He's taken time to watch us, and he spoke a lot about the fact that he's seen us play the type of football he likes to see.

“It's unusual for a manager to come into a club in this situation, but he's looking forward to working with the staff who are already here on keeping the intensity levels high, and on achieving continued positive results.”