New Workington Town chairman Les Smallwood says he is confident his club can challenge for promotion back up to the Championship next season, saying it is “where we belong”.

Smallwood said he was proud of where Town finished last season and believes they can continue to grow and push forward in 2019.

“Being with our fans at Doncaster and Bradford will live long in the memory,” said Smallwood, of two of Town’s biggest games at the end of last season.

“Although we fell just short we’ve shown that we can challenge for promotion and look to get into the Championship where we belong.”

He admitted taking over as chairman, he has his own challenges, to keep the club on an even keel so that they can flourish both on and off the field.

He said’: “My challenge for the coming months and years is to make sure that we drive an efficient business, secure new income streams and sponsorship and make sure that we stick to a sensible budget so that we don’t put the club at risk.

“We’re now actively looking for new board members who have the necessary skillsets to help us achieve those goals.”

And he is also keen to keep improving links with the local amateur clubs and says they are in a positive place as a whole. He indicated that the signing process was ongoing at the club and he was looking forwad to the new season.

“We started to really strengthen our links with our community clubs over the last year and we’ll really focus on that in 2019 as we have to help drive more participation in rugby league for the good of the game as a whole and for us as a club,” added Smallwood.

“We’re aiming for promotion in 2019 so signing the right players is ongoing and going really well.

“More will be announced over the coming weeks but frankly we can’t and won’t compete with some offers that are being made to our players so we expect to lose some as well.”

Smallwood also praised the people behind the scenes at Derwent Park and the fans on the terraces, saying they were crucial to success, as they look ahead to the proposed new shared stadium in Workington.

“We have a brilliant support network in place with the lottery and supporters groups and they are vital to a successful future as we explore the options of a new shared stadium,” he added.

“If the outcome is positive we’ll look to go into the new stadium as a Championship club.

“I’m ready for the challenge and surrounded by talented and passionate directors and a talented and committed young coach we’ll continue to take the club forward.”