CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Bluebirds desperate to start year

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Chippenham Town's Jack Allward (blue) returned to training this week Chippenham Town's Jack Allward (blue) returned to training this week

MARK Collier says his Chippenham Town side are chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch this weekend.

The Bluebirds have their fingers crossed that the recent wet weather, which put paid to their Calor League Premier Division clashes against St Neots Town and Arlesey Town this week, will subside enough for them to take on St Albans City at Hardenhuish Park on Saturday.

Chippenham are yet to taste competitive action in 2014 and Collier said: “It’s not been ideal but a lot of other clubs have been in the same boat.

“We’re lucky that we have use of a facility like the all-weather pitch at Stanley Park to train on.

“We had an intense session on Tuesday and we’ll have another one tonight, so the fitness shouldn’t be a problem.

“The only real plus from this break is that Lee Phillips and Iain Harvey have come back from their hamstring injuries.

“All of the boys were getting in among each other, so they’re chomping at the bit to get back out there.

“I think the club were wary about ruining the pitch if we went back on it too soon but I’m led to believe that we’re confident of this Saturday going ahead.

“Hopefully, nothing untoward happens with the weather before then.

“I went to watch St Albans at Hungerford a few weeks ago and they might have lost but they’re a very good side.

“They’re a big non-league club, who probably think they should be playing at a higher level, and they’ll shock a few people this season.”

Full-back Jack Allward, who dislocated his shoulder last November, returned to training this week and despite Alex Ferguson returning to Swindon Town following the expiration of his month-long loan, Collier is hoping for a swift reunion with the midfielder.

The manager said: “He didn’t play as many games as we’d hoped because he was poorly for one game (against Frome Town on Boxing Day) and then we’ve had matches called off because of the weather. It’s a discussion that we’re having to have with Swindon at the moment but I’d like to try and get him back for a bit longer if we can.”

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