AFC Darwen's new manager Luke Evans has set his sights on promotion as the Anchor Ground club look forward to exciting times both on and off the pitch.

Evans, in his second season at the Hallmark Security League Division One club, has taken over the managerial reigns from Kenny Langford who has stepped up to director of football.

With the club busy laying a new pitch and building new changing rooms, Evans is keen to match ambitions on the pitch that have been shown off the pitch.

He has already brought in his own backroom staff and admits he is excited about the challenge ahead.

"It's my second season at the club," he said. "Kenny provided me with a lot of support last season which helped me through and gave me the right sort of grounding to push on this season and do as well as I possible can.

"I am excited for the challenge. There is a little bit more pressure that comes with the job but I am really looking forward to it and I can't wait to get started."

Evans has brought in Shane Hudson as his assistant manager with Colin Mason and John Brotherton joining the Salmoners as first team coaches.

"I'm bringing in my own team, my own backroom staff, people who I have worked with before and also guys I really rate in the game and I am looking forward to working with," he said.

"It will make a big difference to me on the training pitch and also on a match day, bouncing ideas of people who I have worked with in the past.

"Shane can't wait to get his teeth in to the new projects we are starting here, Colin is ready to go to help us out and John has got the experience having worked at this level and higher and that can only be a help to me and the club going forward."

Evans says the players and coaching staff will have to get used to their new surroundings at the Anchor Ground.

"Obviously with the new facilities that we have got here, with the new pitch and the new changing rooms, it is an exciting time for the club. It is going to be a good but tough pre-season for us because we are going to have to get used to these facilities.

"We are going to have to get used to playing on this pitch on a regular basis.

"The facilities are there it is up to us to match what the club is doing off the pitch, on the pitch. Hopefully that will result in promotion for us."

Darwen behind their build-up for the new season with three matches against West Lancashire League opposition - starting with Blackpool Wren Rovers on Saturday, July 6 (3pm).

They then go to Thornton Cleveleys on Saturday, July 20 (2pm) before making the trip to Poulton FC on Tuesday, July 23 (7pm).

Evans side will then face higher league opposition when they travel up the M65 to face Hallmark Security League Premier Division side Padiham on Saturday, July 27 (3pm).