Danny Grainger hopes Josh O’Brien can be the latest young Carlisle United player to thrive at Workington Reds.

The youth team defender is on a work experience loan at Borough Park.

It gives the promising player the chance of first-team experience with Grainger’s Northern Premier League Premier Division side.

And the Reds boss and ex-Blues captain hopes O’Brien can grab his chance in the way Kai Nugent did in a similar loan spell last season.

Grainger moved for O’Brien having coached the defender for a period in United’s academy.

“With Dan Wordsworth retiring and Sam Smith being injured at the moment, we’re down to one fit centre-half,” said the Reds boss.

“It’s a good chance for Josh to play men’s football.

“I’ve been in helping Mark Birch out with the under-18s a couple of days a week, and the likes of Birchy, Paul Boertien and Steven Rudd have had good and honest conversations with Josh.

“They probably think it’s the right time for him to come and hopefully do what Kai Nugent did last year, and have a successful loan move and progress his own career.

News and Star: Kai Nugent had a successful loan at Workington last season. The young midfielder is now on loan at Annan AthleticKai Nugent had a successful loan at Workington last season. The young midfielder is now on loan at Annan Athletic (Image: Ben Challis)

“He’ll come to a good level, he’ll be challenged, and he’s a lad I think a lot of. Hopefully he’ll be successful.”

O’Brien has been limited in early involvement with Reds not in action on consecutive Saturdays.

But they are back in league action this weekend at Guiseley.

On the 17-year-old north east native O’Brien, Grainger added: “He’s got all the attributes to be a good centre-half – he now has to come into an environment where it’s three points on the line and he can make the step up.

“He’s got to come with the right mentality. He seemed to really grasp it when we spoke to him, he seems excited for it and hopefully he’ll do well and forge the start of a career for himself.”

Grainger hopes the move is another example of the growing relationship between Reds and Blues.

“It’s vitally important,” he added.

“I’d like to think Paul [Simpson] and Birchy know if they send players to us they’re going to get a good grounding, and taught the right things.

“I’ve always said a strong relationship between Carlisle United and Workington Reds is a huge positive for us.

“For us all to be successful, the county’s got to work together and I think we do.

“Since Paul came back I can’t speak highly enough of him, and letting me come in to the club as I am doing does give me the chance to look and gauge if players are ready to step up.

“The relationship is strong and open and it keeps the pathway open.

“We can point to how well Kai has done, how Josh will hopefully do, when we’re looking at other lads with this sort of thing in mind.”