CAMERON Belford believes Radcliffe are in good shape with the countdown on to the new season.

Boro have friendlies at Clitheroe and Ramsbottom to come before kicking their Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign off at home to Grantham on August 14.

Boss Lee Fowler has made no secret of his desire to see his side mixing it at the right end of the standings in 2021/22.

And former Bury keeper Belford believes things are coming together at the Neuven Stadium as players new and old come together.

“Pre-season’s always difficult, there’s a lot of fitness involved,” the 32-year-old said after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Chester City.

“There’s a lot games where you play teams that are above you, teams that are below you, but you can only concentrate on yourselves.

“I think we’re getting there. It did take a couple of games to get going, now we’re looking a bit more solid, we’re finding out more about each other.

“There’s some new lads in there, there’s some lads who’ve played a lot of games together and it’s about gelling as a team on and off the pitch which we are doing.

“We are getting there, we’re looking a solid side and we know what we’re capable of, we know what we can and can’t do.

“We know how we need to play, it’s just about implementing that in every minute of the game.

“We’ve got a couple of tough games to go, against Clitheroe and Ramsbottom, but come the start of the season we’ll be bang at it and ready to go.”

The visitors dominated large parts of the first half on Saturday, scoring two goals in 20 minutes through Simon Grand and Darren Stephenson.

Grand flicked a header which just sneaked into the bottom corner beyond Belford, while Stephenson’s was a much simpler finish, scoring a tap in into an open net from a few yards out.

Boro fought back in the second half and managed to pull one back through Bobby Grant, the player-assistant boss chipping goalkeeper Louis Gray from 25 yards out after his throw was misplaced and landed at his feet.

The hosts then pushed for an equaliser, Matty Crothers curling in a corner which found the head of Olly Thornley, his header looked in but for a fine save from Gray to deny Fowler’s side a leveller late on.

“I thought we played well for 60-65 minutes of the game,” Belford said of the meeting with the National League North side.

“We started well in the first 10 then had a little spell from then until the end of the half where we were a little bit off it and played off the back foot rather than the front foot.  Second half we showed we can compete and I’ll take that all day. That’s the way we’ve got to play, we’ve got to be on the front foot, be aggressive, we’ve got to play in their half and put teams under pressure.”