NATHAN Rudge will continue to work with only members of his first team squad in the remainder of Chippenham Town’s pre-season campaign as he looks to mould his side for the new season.

The Bluebirds boss has made eight summer signings and has opted against inviting a host of trialists to train and feature in friendlies.

Rudge, who is preparing for his first campaign as player-manager at Hardenhuish Park, admits that his decision is based on his own experiences as a player and said: “We’re working with a much smaller group this year and that’s the way I’d like to do things.

“Sometimes you can have 35, 40 players at training sessions and it’s not something that I liked when I was a player in all honesty.

“With all due respect, sometimes you had players coming along that weren’t good enough and it could dilute things a bit.”

Last Friday, Rudge took his side to former club Tiverton Town, the Bluebirds running out 2-0 winners courtesy of two first-half strikes from James Guthrie and Dean Griffiths.

Tivvy also ended the match with 10 men after having a player sent off for an elbow on Griffiths.

“It was a good fitness exercise on a really good surface and it was nice to see a few old faces too,” said Rudge.

“Everything is geared towards August 18 and getting there without picking up any injuries – results don’t really matter.

“The boys have all been working really hard and we’ve got tough tests to come against Cinderford (on Saturday) and Exeter (next Tuesday).”

The Chippenham chief revealed that defenders Alex Kite, who has a hamstring injury, and Mani Randhawa, who has a pelvic problem, are likely to miss the majority of pre-season and added: “They’re both going to be behind the other lads in terms of fitness and they may have to fight for their place at the start of the season.

“You’ve got to earn your stripes really, even for a place on the bench.”