First-team manager Danny Grainger has praised his squad depth after Reds’ 2-6 win over Penrith this past weekend.
The boss, a Penrith native, overlooked our second successive pre-season win at Frenchfield Park on Saturday.
The comprehensive victory thanks to goals from Scott Allison, Brad Carroll, Brad Hubbold, Ruben Jerome, Louis Potts, and Dav Symington.
Speaking in the post-match warmth, Grainger said: “Today proves what depth we’ve got.
“With the difference between the first half and the second performance, some of the lads have done themselves a world of good.
“When look at the squad – and I was just saying this to the boys – I’m pretty sure most clubs in our league would snap their hand off for the team we’ve got.
“They’re not just good players, they’re good lads.
“This year’s going to be a real, real challenge for them to get into the starting lineup and on the bench.”
As much as the scoreline suggested a gulf in the game, the 90 minutes were constantly competitive and the manager has admitted how he views friendlies like the weekend’s.
“It’s pre-season and I think the lads might think I’m over-critical with them at times but it’s just the standards we want to set,” he admitted.
“We don’t want them to ease through pre-season. Ruddy and I are probably harsher than we need to be but we need to be ready for that first game of the season.”
Moving onto the bigger picture, the Northern Premier League is yet to reveal plans for the league campaign.
Therefore, the famous FA Cup will be where Reds begin their new term and Grainger is keen to avoid another early exit.
“The FA Cup, like the league, is going to be important to us this year.
“We want to make sure that we can rectify last year; it was my biggest disappointment that we got knocked out in the first round.
“We want to make sure we can progress this year.”
With two friendlies down and four competitive ones to go, the manager also took stock of how this summer compares to his first pre-season.
“We came in with fresh ideas and sort of start from scratch, the lads now know how we want to play,” he explained.
“It’s now a case of adding on the building blocks; making sure they know the next part of the style and adding things in.
“The lads need to know their roles and responsibilities in and out possession.”
Reds continue down their pre-season friendly schedule on Saturday back at Borough Park, facing League Two Carlisle United after two training sessions this week.