Workington Reds boss Danny Grainger hopes this weekend’s friendly with Carlisle United will reinforce the growing relationship between the clubs.

And the Borough Park manager expects a “competitive” encounter for both sides in Saturday's pre-season clash.

United head to west Cumbria for their third summer warm-up game against a Reds side managed by their former captain.

Both teams are preparing for life after promotion through the play-offs, Carlisle coming up from League Two and Reds rising from NPL West.

Alongside their respective successes has been a bond which, Grainger says, has strengthened in recent times after a period when it had dwindled.

“The relationship between the two clubs is growing again now, which is fantastic,” said Grainger.

“Over some recent few seasons it’s probably not been as strong as we’d hoped, but with Paul [Simpson] and myself and people like Gav [Skelton] around, we’re all happy to help each other, which is great.

“There’s a lot of positivity around both clubs which is fantastic, and the positivity around the county’s football in general is really high.

“We want to keep that growing as much as we can.”

United sent young midfielder Kai Nugent on loan to Reds last season and he played a positive part in their promotion campaign.

Grainger hopes the good connections between his club and the Blues can reap further mutual rewards in future.

“It’s something we’ll probably have a conversation about down the line, about what players Carlisle are looking to get out on loan and what we need in certain positions,” he said.

News and Star: Workington Reds are preparing for life after promotion from NPL WestWorkington Reds are preparing for life after promotion from NPL West (Image: Ben Challis)

“Paul will have his plans and recruitment drive and, if certain players come to the point where they need to go out on loan for, say, six months, I’d like to think we’re in a position where we have a good relationship and they know they can trust us to look after them.

“The same goes for Annan, with Peter Murphy there and Max Kilsby doing well with them last season.

“Hopefully that’s two clubs Carlisle can have confidence in using and there are benefits for all parties.

“Once they get a few more bodies through the door themselves, we’ll be asking the question who might be available and if they can strengthen us for our season.”

Workington’s latest friendly comes after their midweek encounter with Morecambe was postponed with the League Two club unable to raise a team.

Grainger could include new Oldham Athletic loan signing Kofi Moore for the first time, while ex-Carlisle youth keeper Lewis Boyd is set to start for Workington.

“The boys will raise their game and know they will have to be at it,” added the Reds chief.

“They’ll be preparing as close to a league match as normal because they know if they don’t, it will be a long afternoon for them.

“It’s a game where we won’t see as much of the ball as we’d normally like, so it ticks the box fitness-wise.

“It will be a competitive game for both clubs and helps build that relationship. Hopefully both will get what we want out of it and it’s one I’m looking forward to.”