Workington Reds boss Danny Grainger is not shying away from the challenge of pitting his league-leading side against two promotion rivals in the next week.

Reds host the NPL North West Division’s fifth-placed side at Borough Park tomorrow when Marske United come to town (3pm kick-off) and travel to face second-placed Ramsbottom United next Saturday, with Grainger well aware of how big the games could prove to be for his team as they look to build on their win at Colne last weekend and extend their lead at the top of the table.

But the pressure of preparing his team to take on fellow title hopefuls has not fazed the 33-year-old and he is instead relishing the prospect of seeing if his players can keep up the high performance levels they have shown recently.

Grainger said: “We know Saturday is going to be a difficult game, whatever the conditions.

“But we said when we came in we want to be challenging at the right end of the table and we want the players and supporters to be enjoying the football that we’re playing.

“The last few games we’ve topped 500 fans there and it would be nice to think that that can carry on and we can build on it over the rest of the season.

“In the second half of the season teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives to try to survive in this division and teams in the middle of the table know they are in the last-chance saloon for making a push for the play-offs.

“Results can be a little bit more inconsistent in this time and it’s when you have to be careful going into every game.

“We can’t get on a good run, beating teams by three or four goals and get comfortable.

“We need to make sure that never happens.

“But I’d rather be sat at the top of the table with the points than in the chasing pack.”

While Grainger was able to get one signing over the line with the addition of former Bolton Wanderers prospect Cole Lonsdale last week, another target he was chasing is now unlikely to join the club.

“There is still one ongoing which I don’t think will get done in time for this weekend but there is a chance it could get over the line next week,” he said.

“We’re still actively looking at players and if it’s going to strengthen the squad or team we will do it but I don’t want to just sign players for the sake of it or to get bodies in the squad.”

Grainger believes Lonsdale can make a big contribution to his side over the rest of the season and supporters got a glimpse of his ability last Saturday when he almost marked his Reds debut from the bench with a goal.

“He’s a player that I really like,” he said.

“When we played Clitheroe and he played for them he was someone who impressed me with the things that he can do with the ball.”