SOUTHERN LEAGUE: Collier wants Hardenhuish to be home, sweet home

This Is Wiltshire: Chippenham boss Mark Collier Chippenham boss Mark Collier

MARK Collier is hoping for some home comfort in the new year as Chippenham kick off a run of four successive games at Hardenhuish Park tomorrow.

Seven of the Bluebirds’ last ten matches have taken place away from home but boss Collier has called on the club’s fans to play their part in turning their own ground into a fortress.

Chippenham host St Neots in the Southern League Premier Division tomorrow and Arlesey on Tuesday before welcoming St Albans and Weymouth to Wiltshire later this month.

“We’ve been away a lot recently but this run of matches at home gives us a chance to try and pick up a few points,” said Collier.

“The lads enjoy their football when they’re playing at home because it’s always nice to play in front of a crowd and hopefully the fans can play their part by coming out to watch.

“If they could carry on supporting us, just like they have since myself and Tom (Jones, assistant manager) have come in, and more fans come to watch, then hopefully they can help turn Hardenhuish Park into a bit of a fortress.

“We go out looking to try and win every game and hopefully we can start doing that at home.”

Bluebirds skipper Alan Griffin is suspended this weekend while fellow striker Lee Phillips (hamstring) is a doubt and veteran midfielder Iain Harvey is still sidelined.

Swindon Town loanee Alex Ferguson comes back into the squad for the final game of his one-month loan spell and Collier remains hopeful of extending the youngster’s stay.

Meanwhile, in Division One South & West, league leaders Cirencester will be hoping that star striker Lee Smith rejects the advances of Paulton.

Smith, the league’s joint top scorer with 21 goals in 22 games, has been the subject of a seven-day approach by the Centurions’ promotion rivals.

Shortwood have also launched a raid for full-back Ben Prictor while Hughes has been busy in the transfer market himself, bringing in Shortwood centre-half Mark Pritchett.

However, the boss was thwarted in a move for ex-Cirencester captain Jamie Reid after the combative midfielder elected to stay at Mangotsfield.

“Other managers have been telling me what a revelation Reidy has been this year and I wanted him back,” admitted Hughes.

“We will have to turn our attentions to finding a midfielder in a similar mould.”

Cirencester are at home to play-off chasers Tiverton tomorrow.


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