STEVEN RUDD: The plan doesn’t change

Assistant first-team manager Steven Rudd has taken stock two weeks into Reds’ pre-season, acting as caretaker boss.

Despite the departure of Danny Grainger a fortnight ago, ‘Ruddy’ has assured supporters that the plan hasn’t changed and expressed his delight at being back on the grass.

“It’s very good to be back,” he said after Thursday’s session, the fifth of the summer.

“We had a chat with the chairman about delaying restarting a week when Danny left but we weren’t going to have a new manager in that week anyway.

“It’s best to get the lads back in and the plan doesn’t change just because of one person.”

Although there’s set to be a new head coach come the start of the season, the squad has already been crafted ahead of the new campaign and Rudd has been impressed with the group so far.

“The lads have been great since they’ve come back in and done really well,” he said.

“It’s a strong squad, we managed to keep everyone we wanted to and add to it with Iywrah [Gooden] and Kieran [Charlton].

“We’re still looking to add one or two more over the coming weeks,” Rudd confirmed.

“The focus is still to win the league and that doesn’t change.”

A week today, Friday, marks our first match of pre-season, travelling to Whitehaven AFC for the Shaun Hocking Memorial Trophy.

Following that, there’s trips to Penrith, Berwick Rangers and Consett, amid visits from Carlisle United, Morecambe and Lancaster City, a pleasing set of friendly fixtures for Rudd.

“We’ve made the games so that they’re a right mixed bag,” explained the acting gaffer.

“We’ve got local ones, professional ones and competitive ones.

“You want the mix of games where you’re in possession, chasing the game or more realistic league-type games.

“We can’t wait to get started next Friday, the lads will all get good game time over the summer, so it’ll be great to get going.”

First, however, is our Football Festival and Open Day, which will see a whole host of events take place at Borough Park from 9:30am tomorrow.

It should be a great day out for those attending and those involved, and Rudd says it’s all about the Reds family coming together.

“I’ve spoken to Johno, all the juniors are coming down, the reserves, the first team, the Ladies and that’s what it’s all about.

“If everyone pulls in the right direction top to bottom, it helps,” Rudd stated.

“I said to our lads that you haven’t seen the fans since December, so it’s a chance to mingle with people and chat to them.

“It’s hopefully the first step to recovery and getting ready for next year.

Rudd went on to praise the supporters we’re expecting to see, saying: “We know the fans are great; from the RISC guys to the regulars at Borough Park, so it’ll be good to see them again.

“You miss it because the social side of football is just as important as the actual game, especially with the year we’ve had.”

See you tomorrow at Borough Park, Reds!

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