Danny Grainger says he hopes he won’t have to get his boots back on for Workington Reds – despite re-registering as a player.

The manager named himself on the bench last weekend due to a number of absentees in the squad.

But the former Carlisle United captain, 37, says he was glad he didn’t have to play in the end – and he hopes it stays that way.

Grainger, who retired from playing in 2019, said: “Fingers crossed I won’t be needed – I’m happily retired. I don’t miss playing.

“I miss certain things about the time when I was 25-29, in those stages of my career, but I don’t miss playing and waking up with the aches and pains.

“Unless it’s necessity I hopefully won’t need to pull the match boots on.”

News and Star: Grainger hung up his boots in 2019 at the end of his playing spell with Carlisle UnitedGrainger hung up his boots in 2019 at the end of his playing spell with Carlisle United (Image: David Hollins)

Grainger last night moved to bolster his squad by bringing in versatile Gateshead midfielder Connor Pani on loan.

He had hoped to secure the deal last week but a delay in finalising the move led the boss to name himself among Reds’ substitutes for the 2-2 draw at Ashton United, after finding his defensive ranks depleted.

“For the first team squad we’ve got 31 registered players – that’s crazy, I’d never want to run with that many players, but unfortunately we have to,” added the Borough Park boss, speaking ahead of today's home clash with Ilkeston Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. Last week we lost Sam Smith to a broken nose, Camron Gbadebo goes to Eastbourne and signs there, we had two sendings-off before that, and we lost another two to injury on Tuesday [against Macclesfield].

“You’re running around trying to find players. I thought I had the loan signing done last Friday, then late on I got the message saying it wouldn’t be done yet.

“I had to re-register myself. I was delighted not to get on the pitch, but that’s where we are at the moment.

“It wasn’t through choice – it was more through necessity that we had to have cover on the bench if one of the centre-halves went down.

“I would happily throw other lads in at full-back and give them a chance but it’s hard to put someone in at centre-back when they’ve never played that position before.”