JOHN Phillips is looking forward to being a part of Trowbridge Wanderers’ new chapter in the Wiltshire League as the club look to become a major force in their town.

Wanderers, who plied their trade in the top tier of the Trowbridge & District League last season, have made the move up to the revamped Premier Division and are set to go head-to-head with near neighbours and local rivals Trowbridge Town in the new season.

Former Warminster Town manager Phillips will take charge of the Wanderers’ in their new division, with former Trowbridge Town chief Chris Carr as his assistant and Robbie Simmonds as club coach, with the Wiltshire League new-boys hosting their home games at the Lambrok Playing Field.

“It’s a very exciting time for everyone at the club and the chairman, Mike Lanfear, has worked very hard to get us up into the Wiltshire League,” said Phillips.

“He’s a Westbury boy and I spoke to him at the Warminster v Westbury derby match on Boxing Day last season. He asked me if I’d be interested in getting back into management with them.

“I first started coaching at Trowbridge Wanderers because my son (Sam Hibbard) was playing in the youth teams there and Mark’s son was in the same age group. My daughter (Emily Phillips) also played for the girls’ team too.

“We’ve got a whole new team together but it’s not going to be new to the players because they’ve all played at this level before – Chris Carr has been very good in getting players over to the club.

“I managed Bradford Town Reserves in the Wiltshire League and we did quite well. There are a lot of local derbies in there too and a lot of the managers are guys I’ve played against in the past, so I’m looking forward to renewing hostilities with them.”

Phillips also expects his team to relish their upcoming derby clashes with Trowbridge Town.

The Wanderers manager said: “I know that all the lads will be keeping an eye on the fixtures to find out when we’ll be playing them – we want to be a big club in the town too.”

Wanderers kick off their season with a trip to Wootton Bassett Town development next weekend.

In order to retain its Step 7 status within the National League System, the Wiltshire League will be running a single division this season, comprising of an increased compliment of 18 teams.

Last season’s Division One champions Melksham Town Reserves have been promoted alongside Wootton Bassett Development and Sarum Youth whilst Westbury United Reserves have followed Wanderers up from the Trowbridge & District League.

Malmesbury Victoria have dropped down from the Hellenic League to complete the make-up of the Premier Division.

The league have established a new five-team U21s Division whilst also taking over the running of the Thursday night U18s Floodlit Division.