Workington manager Grainger expecting tough test at Clitheroe

Workington boss Danny Grainger says Clitheroe will be ‘tough opposition’ ahead of their Northern Premier League match tomorrow evening.

Reds sit top of the North West division and are turning a corner after relegation last season, having played the same amount of games as 11th-placed Clitheroe.

Grainger, now in the West-Cumbrian hot seat previously filled by Bill Shankly in the 1950s, is aiming for promotion with the chance to extend their lead to nine points tomorrow at Shawbridge.

Bouncing back from first league defeat of the campaign at Mossley last weekend, Reds claimed their third clean sheet this term in a 2-0 win against Widnes, something which pleased the former Carlisle United captain.

“We want as many clean sheets as possible,” he said on Sunday. “If we keep them, we’ve got the lads in the squad who can score goals and win games.

“We’ve said from day one that if we control the game the way we know we can, we won’t give up many chances.

“The lads yesterday [Saturday] were fantastic; we probably gave away too many chances and on another day could’ve been punished, but we had some last-ditch defending and great saves.”

One part of the back line at Borough Park was Carlisle youth product Liam Brockbank, as the young left-back was handed a call-up to England U21s futsal team last week.

A former left-sided full back himself, Grainger spoke about when he was told the news, saying: “I actually was at home and I had three missed calls on my phone from Brock – so I thought ‘oh no, what’s going on?’ and started to worry a bit.

“He asked if it was alright to go down and we told him ‘of course.’ It’s an amazing achievement to represent your country at anything. I mentioned it in the dressing room after the game as it’s a massive privilege, especially in such a prestigious way, so we were all over the moon for him.

“He’s one who’s been fantastic since he’s came and done well in every game that he’s played.”

Moving onto tomorrow’s fixture, both sides’ 10th this season in the division, Grainger is not reading too much into Phil Brown’s team’s current predicament ahead of the midweek clash, having conceded the fourth-most goals in the division with 16.

“You don’t ignore it. Especially with the teams who’ve played a similar amount of games as us.

“We’ve been lucky with people who watch the games for us and give us information.

“Clitheroe will be tough opposition, they’re young and fearless at times but we just need to impose ourselves and be as ruthless as we’ve been in the last few games.”

Now on the up again after a recent decline, the 98-year-old club are perhaps best known around the North West for being the last team the famous Busby Babes of Manchester United played in the FA Cup, in front of 21,000, and have made weekend-best attendances in Step Four of non-league this season.

Kick-off tomorrow evening is at 19:45.