RAMSBOTTOM United have made a statement of intent as they aim to progress up the Pyramid and snapped up two star midfielders.

The Evo-Stik League First Division North outfit have big plans for the future and are right in the mix for promotion this term.

And joint bosses Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson have boosted their ranks with the double swoop for Simon Garner and Lewis Proudfoot, players who the management believe can only aid their ambitions.

Garner, the son of ex-Clitheroe chairman and manager Carl Garner, moves to the Riverside following his release from Chorley, while Proudfoot has signed for the Rams from Bolton Wanderers.

Garner is a vastly experienced midfielder who never settled with the Magpies following his summer move from Halifax and Johnson is delighted that he joined the Rams rather than any of the multiples of clubs that had vied for his services.

“This is a massive signing for us – it is huge,” Johnson said.

“Even though we have lost one game in the last eight, we continue to look to strengthen our squad and getting Simon to join us, despite loads of interest from other clubs, shows our intentions.

“He did have loads of offers from big non-league clubs but he has just had his first child and wanted to get back to enjoying his football, which is what we can offer him.”

The 30-year-old helped FC Halifax Town win promotion to the Blue Square Bet North last season and also starred in their televised FA Cup round one loss to Charlton Athletic 18 months ago.

“Simon has had all the big moves, all the limelight,” added Johnson. “But he wants to play football and enjoy it and this, for us at the club, is a huge signing, a big statement and a play for the future.”

Proudfoot is a 20-year-old midfielder who has spent all of his playing career with Bolton Wanderers having completed a three-year apprenticeship last season before being released.

The midfielder has been playing for Tottington United since leaving the Reebok and has impressed the managers since joining the club in training a few weeks ago “Lewis has a hunger about him,” added Johnson. “He has looked a different class since coming to train with us and Bernard and I sat down and had a chat about him and he offers us another excellent player to give the team more competition for places.

“Both of these signings give the whole squad a lift, knowing that there are more players vying for the starting shirt. But, not only that, this is a big statement as to our intentions to reach the play-offs and, hopefully, targeting promotion from this league.”