NATHAN Rudge is backing loan duo Jordan Tillson and Jacob Wannell to be up for the battle of helping haul Chippenham Town out of their recent run of poor form.
The Bluebirds boss has brought in defenders Tillson, 19, and Wannell, 18, on initial one-month loan deals from League Two Exeter City and also revealed that he has made a seven-day approach for Bridgwater Town winger Joe McClennan.
Tillson featured against Chippenham in the FA Cup earlier this season whilst on loan at Gloucester City while Wannell has also had a spell at Conference level with Dorchester Town.
“Rob Edwards (Exeter City first-team coach) has really helped us out and these two lads seem like they’ll have the stomach for the fight with us,” said Rudge.
“Jordan’s played against us at right-back for Gloucester and he’s a versatile player who can play there, in the centre and in the middle of midfield.
”Jacob was man-of-the-match for Exeter’s reserves against Swansea the other day and they’re raving about him down there – he's a left-back and they think that he’ll be the next one to break into their first team.
“But because they’re going for automatic promotion this year, they’re more likely to go with the experienced guys and the young lads get less of a chance.
“It’s a bit like Tyrone (Mings) up at Ipswich and I’m sure as soon as they get to 40 points in their league, he’ll start to feature there.
“We’ve got them for a month to start with but if they like it with us and we like them, then we could end up having them for the rest of the season.”
The arrivals of Tillson and Wannell have served to cushion the blow of captain Steve Casey’s departure from Hardenhuish Park.
The defender, who first joined Chippenham from Calne Town in 2008, has agreed to leave the club by mutual consent and Rudge paid tribute to his contribution with the Bluebirds.
“Steve’s been at the club for a long time and he’s been a great servant to us so I’ve got to thank him for everything he’s done," he said.
“I’ve given the players ultimatums in the past and told them that if they weren’t up for the fight, they could leave and he phoned me on Monday to say that he'd decided to go.
“I had to respect his decision but it’s disappointing to lose your captain with 13 games to go – unfortunately, football moves on.”
The Chippenham manager also revealed that dealing with the mentality of the modern-day Southern League footballer had provided one of the biggest learning curves in his first year in management.
Rudge said: “One of the biggest things for me to learn has been the fact that for a lot of players, there are a lot more things that are more important to them than football.
“Football has always been everything to me and when I was brought up, if you didn’t play well and got a rollicking, you’d take it and want to prove your manager wrong.
“Nowadays, it seems like you get players who want to jump ship when things aren’t going well.
“The game’s changed and that’s the way it is.”
Chippenham, who are 16th in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division, travel to Warwickshire tomorrow for a vital clash with 20th-placed Bedworth United.
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