It was a day of farewells yesterday as Craig Johnston stepped down from his coaching role with the Development Squad as three first team players – Louis Potts, Jordan Holt and Jay Kelly – decided to leave the club and seek their football opportunities elsewhere.
Johnston first came to the club as a senior twenty years ago, having developed through the Carlisle United Academy. He made his debut in a NPL fixture at Gretna under Peter Hampton and became a fixture in the team over nine seasons, making 241 starts plus 93 appearances as a substitute and scoring 86 goals in the process.
He regularly captained the side during the Tommy Cassidy era then, when injury curtailed an excellent career before he was thirty, became involved in the coaching side of the game with Workington Reds Juniors.
Brian Dawson paid tribute to Johnston saying, “It’s a huge loss for us to be honest and for me personally. We worked really well together and the players loved him.
“Unfortunately, he’s Workington Reds ‘through and through’ but is juggling too many balls at the moment with shift work, his many other football commitments and last, but not least, family life so something had to give.
“He will still be involved with the Club working with the U14s Academy group but will end his time with the Development Squad.”
Dawson, meanwhile, will be thinking about a successor but knows Johnston is a hard act to follow.
“It’s great to keep people with his knowledge and experience around the place to help us develop our youth players moving forward,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Danny Grainger announced that three members of the first team squad will be leaving the club after opting for pastures new.
Jordan Holt, Jay Kelly and Louis Potts, who all featured prominently in the aborted ’20-21 season, hope to kick-start their respective careers with a fresh challenge.
Holt, the most experienced of the three, returned to Borough Park last summer following a spell with Annan Athletic but originally joined Reds from Carlisle United on loan in 2017. In his three seasons with the club he has made 72 starts plus a further 23 appearances as a substitute and has scored three goals.
Kelly has spent the last two uncompleted seasons with Reds although he was working away for several months during that time. He started 14 games plus 10 more appearances on the bench scoring once.
Potts arrived last summer after progressing through the youth set-up at Preston North End. He scored in the pre-season games against Penrith, Whitehaven and Cleator Moor Celtic and netted his first league goal in the convincing 5-2 home win over City of Liverpool. Louis made six appearances with a further eight as a substitute.
Grainger, who cannot guarantee any member of the squad regular first team football, thanked the trio for their service and commitment during their time at the club and wished them the best of fortune for the next chapter of their respective careers. A sentiment echoed by the Reds supporters who certainly appreciated their time at Borough Park.