Steve Evans has had almost 20 years as a Football League manager but the excitement of a new season still makes him as giddy as a schoolboy.

He takes his Stevenage side to Northampton Town on Saturday for their first match in League One following last season's promotion.

And while there was an acknowledgement of the tests to come, he can't wait.

The boss said: "Oh, it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow night [Friday]. Every manager will have aims and ambitions and we’ve gone up into a league that is going to be challenging for us.

"You just have to look at the size and quality and the name of the clubs [we’ll play]. I know we've lost Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday but there’s Reading and Wigan now. 

"These are big clubs who’ve won FA Cups and been at the top level of the game and I’ve not even started talking about Charlton or Portsmouth or Peterborough or Derby County, the outright favourites. 

"This is a real stern challenge for us but we need to meet that challenge, be sensible and also look where we are after 10 games, like we said last season."

This week's two signings, Finley Burns and Aaron Pressley, are both available, as should be Elliott List.

And he believes they are almost there in terms of preparation.

"I'd rather have another week or two," Evans admitted, "I think every manager would say that, but we’d rather have another week because we're just getting to the back end of finalising our squad. 

"But there’ll be no excuses from us. Most of our squad has been in place since we come back in for pre-season and we’re slowly adding to it and there is no doubt we've added some quality.

"And you know and I know that we pick the team here with integrity and honesty and it'll be the lads who demonstrate in the next 48 hours that they deserve to play who'll get the shirts."