CHIPPENHAM Town chief Mark Collier is looking forward to getting the preparations for the upcoming Southern League Premier Division under way in earnest as the Bluebirds squad report back for pre-season training tonight.

Manager Collier is satisfied with the state of his squad after snapping up Ellis Dunton and Luke Ballinger last week and has now turned his attentions to getting his players up to speed ahead of their August 9 kick-off date.

Chippenham’s first pre-season friendly is a trip to Hellenic League Shriven-ham, managed by Collier’s son Sam, on July 15 and the club have this week announced an additional game against former Bluebirds boss Darren Perrin’s Melksham Town, which will take place at Hardenhuish Park on Thursday, July 31 (kick-off 7.30pm).

“It doesn’t feel like we’ve had much of a break with all of the time you spend on the phone to players and the like, but I’m looking forward to getting everybody ready for that first league game in August,” said Collier.

“We’re hoping to have a constructive pre-season, rather than a destructive one, because the lads all keep themselves ticking over in the gym or what have you.

“There’s the possibility that we may have one or two triallists come along, but we only really want to work with players that want to be starting in that first game.

“Myself and Tom (Jones) have met with the chairman and vice-chairman quite a few times to make sure there’s no stone unturned and there’s been plenty of work going on at the ground like painting and grass-cutting.

“We only had the one pre-season friendly at home and we wanted to fit another one in.

“I know Darren quite well and we’ve managed to get the game in against Melksham.”