Workington Reds’ trip to Colne tomorrow (3pm ko) will be a “test of character” as they look to secure their first win of 2020.

That is the view of assistant boss Steve Rudd, who believes the league leaders’ lacklustre start to the year – a defeat at Pontefract on New Year’s Day followed by a home draw against 10-man Trafford last weekend – is no reason to panic.

Rudd said a win at the NPL North West Division’s 15th-placed side this weekend would make the point against Trafford look like a solid one but emphasised that only three points would do that.

“It’s about bouncing back,” he said.

“We’re never going to get everything our way this season because everybody from top to bottom is fighting for something.

“It’s two games, it’s no major crisis, and that’s the benefit of the good form going into Christmas, that we’ve had that little bit of room when it hasn’t gone for us.

“It’s a test of character now.

“If we go and beat Colne, it’s four points from our last two games and that looks pretty good.”

Reds start to the new year has left them still at the top of the table, one point clear of second-placed Ramsbottom United, but have put Pontefract in a strong position to overtake them with four games in hand for them to try to claw back the five-point deficit.

But rather than dwell on points dropped, Rudd believes they should relish the challenge of aiming for the title over the next four months and remember that 12 months ago they were locked in a miserable relegation dogfight.

He said: “Make no mistake, it’s going down to the wire; no team is going to have it won with three games to go.

“But this time last year, the conversation was that we had three games in hand to try and stay up.

“It’s a challenge to be excited about.”

It is understood that the club were yesterday on the verge of sealing a new arrival, with the player due to attend training last night with a view to completing a move.