MELKSHAM Town manager Richard Fey has issued a rallying call to the town’s public ahead of their Southern League Division One South season opener at home to Slimbridge on Saturday.

Several Melksham-based players are likely to feature in Fey’s starting XI at the InfiLED Arena alongside a mixture of summer recruits that the new Town boss has previously worked with and those that have caught his eye during pre-season.

Callum Demkiv, Tom Mack, Will Thompson, Harry Pickering, Ian Jeffrey, Chris Allen and Jake Hutchins are seven local lads Fey has the option to field at the weekend, although star striker Andy Sandell is a doubt as he continues to work on a groin injury.

Fey praised those that have turned out in force throughout pre-season and is now hoping the club’s ambition to finish in the top half of the fourth tier of non-league football will inspire the locals to back his new squad.

“The support has been unbelievable so far – only last week we played Teignmouth and had over 200 attend,” said Fey, who was appointed as Kieran Baggs’ successor at the start of the summer.

“Melksham is a well-supported club and we have plenty of local players this season. That helps add to the interest.

“A lot of them are making a step up to this level and we’re prepared to give them a chance.

“The other lads are players that have played for me before, or ones that have impressed me in the last few years.

“I was told to get a competitive team out there and finish as high up the table as we can. If we can beat last season’s 12th place, it will be remarkable.”

Slimbridge already have one competitive fixture under their belt. They defeated Edgware Town in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup last weekend.

Fey admits Saturday’s contest will be far from easy, and he wants the vocal crowd to act as Melksham’s 12th man and inspire them to victory.

He added: “This is a new era for Melksham, and everyone is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I watched Slimbridge in their final friendly. They’ve already had one competitive game in the FA Cup too – so they’re ahead of us.

“But we’re at home, and if we can attract some good support from the vocal locals then hopefully we can pick up a positive result.”

Melksham rounded off their pre-season programme with a 4-0 win at home to Teignmouth last weekend.