RADCLIFFE boss Lee Fowler admitted he could not contain his excitement as his side kicked off their pre-season friendlies.

Boro backed up an opening 5-1 win over Maine Road on Saturday by beating Ashton Athletic 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Former Coventry midfielder Fowler has been encouraged by what he’s seen so far as the build-up to the Northern Premier League Premier Division season gets serious.

Speaking after the victory against Maine Road, he said; “I’m buzzing to be back, I was in bed early and I was up at 6am with excitement.

“There are only so many running sessions you can do, it is good to see the lads get out there and play some football.

“We are nowhere near it yet but they have to keep working hard to see where it takes us.”

The Boro manager is keen to see his side hit their stride early on, insisting that pre-season or not, results do matter.

Fowler said: “The most important thing was to win.

“If you set your standards early, you will want to win every game of football you play.”

Fowler has handed out debuts to Andy Owens, who scored a hat-trick against Maine Road, Jack Shiels, Jonathan Royle, Khius Metz, Si Lenighan and former Bury goalkeeper Cameron Belford.

Academy graduate Joey Oldham also made his first appearance in goal on Saturday.

Against Ashton, well-travelled striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro made his return to Boro colours.

Radcliffe host Ramsbottom United on Saturday in a game that like all friendlies currently, will be played behind closed doors.