Danny Grainger – ‘fantastic’

New Reds manager Danny Grainger has described his first few training sessions with the squad as ‘fantastic,’ as the team prepares for their first pre-season friendly tonight.

The Cumbrian boss has been busy implementing his philosophy over the past fortnight and the 32-year-old has clearly been impressed.

The boys have come back and they’re really taken on board what we’re trying to instil into them. They’ve been put through their paces but they’ve been good.

They’ve really, really had a go at it and it’s been fantastic, to be honest with you. We’ve tried to change the way we do things a bit. Obviously, Lee [Fearn]’s fantastic with the fitness side of it and we’re trying to work a bit with the ball as well rather than just running.

On the response to his progressive brand of football, Grainger says the group are doing all that ‘[he] asks them to do.’

I’ve got a way that I want the lads to play and they seem to really be taking in how we want to do it, they seem to be enjoying how we’re playing so, if we could just keep adding little bits in week, after week, I’m sure we’ll be a success.

Mentioned prior, Fearn was in charge of Strength & Conditioning at Carlisle United for four years with the former Blues skipper, and the manager is appreciating how much of a ‘great asset’ he is.

I worked with him at Carlisle and he’s fantastic at his job. He’s a great asset to me, and it’s just more of a bonus for the lads to know that they’re not doing things just for the sake of it but they know they’re getting the benefits out of it.

With sessions held at Cumbria Football Academy’s headquarters – Grainger’s own Penrith-based project, that has been thriving since 2015 – the academy architect thinks the Reds are taking to their surroundings.

I think they’re enjoying being up here. We do train at Penrith, being a central venue, it’s not just for my own benefit.

It’s something a little bit different and makes them hopefully feel part of something moving forward.

Finally, friendlies begin tonight in the Shaun Hocking Memorial Trophy against Whitehaven AFC at the County Ground, (7:30pm kick-off) and Grainger is expecting his side will be relishing getting out onto the pitch for the first time.

Nathan Ridley interviews the Reds’ manager Danny Grainger

I think this is the best part for them, to be honest with you. This is where they’ll obviously learn the most and we’ll learn the most about them as well.

We can’t wait for them to get started and they’ll come thick and fast and hopefully, bring on the season with good spirits, with a good pre-season under our belts and see where it can take us.

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