Workington Town chairman Les Smallwood believes Chris Thorman is laying the foundations for long-term success at the club by building links in the community game.

Town wrapped up their pre-season schedule with a trip to League 1 rivals Barrow Raiders on Sunday and, although they lost the game, the head coach was largely pleased with the performance from a youthful side.

Smallwood echoed that sentiment and said he has been impressed with the work done by Thorman since he signed a long-term deal to stay at the club in September.

“We’re really looking forward to the start of the season now,” Smallwood said.

“We’ve had an absolutely brilliant pre-season with Chris, Matthew Johnson, Neil Frazer and the rest of the support staff.

“Chris has mixed it up a bit, we’ve had 20-plus players at every training session and, as you saw from the weekend, he isn’t frightened to blood the youngsters.

“They’ve been training with us all pre-season, they deserve the chance and if they don’t get the opportunity now, when will they?

“Credit to Chris; he has been out in the local community, he’s looked for talent and he’s brought it in.

“Although we’ve lost the pre-season games I think people saw that we’re trying to play a different brand of rugby. Chris has got us playing a more expansive style which will suit us on the drier pitches as the season goes on.”

As well as scouring local amateur clubs and the county sides with a view to unearthing gems, Thorman has invited teams like Egremont and Seaton down to train with and against his players in a move which should benefit all parties.

Smallwood admitted the squad is not the finished article but stressed that everyone at the club is working hard to secure the right players.

He expects a number of signings to be finalised over the coming weeks.

“People have said our squad is light and it probably is at the moment but we’re working hard on that,” he said.

“We have got players coming in and there will be announcements on those when we’re ready.

“There’s no way that the squad’s finished – we’re still looking and speaking to people – but they have to be the right characters or we won’t sign them.

“The important thing to stress is that they have got to be right for the club and buy into what Chris is doing and this is why we gave him a three-year deal.”