Danny Grainger says he expects some of his Workington Reds players to be targeted for moves to bigger clubs – partly because of the Covid-19 situation.

The Reds boss, whose side host Carlisle United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday, believes one effect of the pandemic on football will be to force more clubs to look for bargains in non-league.

Grainger says there has already been interest in three members of his squad and he challenged his players to use games like tomorrow’s to give themselves a chance of furthering their careers.

He added that, while he is determined to deliver to success to Borough Park in the 2020/21 season, he would not stand in the way of a talented young player who earns the chance to step up the divisions.

Grainger said: “We’ve got a little bit of interest in three of our lads, and these are the types of games that they’ve got to make sure they are doing it in.

“Our league is where they are at the moment, but there is no reason they can’t aspire to kick on and play at a higher level.

“If they do that, and perform against league teams when they get the opportunity, the interest will keep coming.”

Grainger said other clubs were paying attention to some of his squad midway through last season, before the coronavirus outbreak curtailed their bid to secure the Northern Premier League North West Division title.

He expected the necessary tightening of belts at clubs across the country could hand more opportunities than before for players at Reds’ level.

He said: “Money is going to be tight for a couple of years and clubs are probably going to look a bit lower down more often, hoping they can get that one who can break out of non-league.

“It could be a great opportunity for our lads. There’s no reason why some of them can’t kick on, whether that’s into the Football League or the Conference.

“There has been a bit more renewed interest and contact since last season in some of our players.

“I don’t want younger lads, or any lads, not to aspire to push on. We want them to come in, be successful for Workington Reds, move on and we can bring another one in.

“I’ve said that since the day I came in. I don’t want to hold youngsters back. I want them to kick on, develop and reach the sort of level where they want to play their football.

“If that doesn’t happen for them, they’ll turn their eyes and focus back to Workington Reds and on being successful here.”

Grainger says he is pleased with how his squad is taking shape, Reds having beaten Carlisle City and Penrith in their first two friendlies.

While trialist midfielder Jordan Holt could again feature against Carlisle United, the Borough Park boss added: “If the season started tomorrow, I’d be happy with what I’ve got.

“We’ve done our business early and I wanted to make sure our squad was ready.

“We made the big signing of Ruben Jerome from our rivals [Ramsbottom] and took Louis Potts out of Preston, who is a fantastic talent and someone I think can really develop and kick on with us.

“There’s a couple more we’re looking at to come in and boost the squad, whether it’s a young goalkeeper to back up Jim [Atkinson] or a couple of attacking options.

“But I wont sign for signing’s sake. We’ve got an 18-20 man squad at the moment and a strong bunch of youngsters in reserve who I’ve got full trust in if I need to throw them in.”