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MANAGER REVIEW: Grainger gauges pre-season progress

Danny Grainger says Reds need to ‘get back into the swing of things quickly’ following the first-team’s opening friendly fixture of pre-season.

Speaking after Tuesday’s win at Carlisle City, the manager acknowledged the rusty performance while assessing the challenges that lay ahead.

On the 2-5 victory at Gillford Park, Grainger said: “It’s been a long time since March, there’s some rustiness there and we need to get back into the swing of things quickly but it’ll come‬.

“There were some challenges out there that were debatable, to say the least, but I’m happy everyone came out unscathed.”

Forward’s Ruben Jerome and Louis Potts each for 45 minutes for the first time in a Reds shirt, and their new boss was impressed by the pair’s performances.

“When you look at Ruben, his hold-up play and work rate are fantastic. He bullies teams and I was delighted for him to get his goal.

“I know he’s frustrated about his two penalty misses but it was nice to get him off the mark.

“Pottsy had a great opportunity in the first half and the ‘keeper made a great save.”

He went on to say: “We haven’t really touched on the way we play with the new lads.

“Once they get used to it, they’ll hit the ground running and I’m looking forward to seeing them as part of the squad.

Tuesday was the first of six scheduled games Reds have lined-up before the season starts.

With plenty of variety in the list, Grainger is hopeful they can help his team improve.

“I’m delighted. In pre-season, you want to be able to dominate teams or challenge against teams,” he said.

“Every game’s going to be different and I think, tonight, you saw Carlisle City sat in which teams will do this year. It’s about how we break them down.

“We’re going to have different challenges in pre-season; games where we’ll have to sit in and soak up the pressure, before hitting on the counter attack.

“It’s what it’s all about, we’ve got some big challenges ahead and the boys are looking forward to them.”

One of those is captain Conor Tinnion, whose thoughts on the match you can read here.

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