CHIPPENHAM Town chief Mark Collier says that he’s already made a mental note of ‘seven or eight’ of his starting line-up for the Bluebirds season-opener against Biggleswade Town.

Chippenham travel to Bedfordshire to take on the Waders on the opening day of the new Southern League Premier Division campaign on August 9 and Collier has been running the rule over his troops during pre-season, with summer signing Jordan Roberts the only player yet to feature after missing Saturday’s 1-0 win over Conference North Oxford City through illness.

The Bluebirds’ final two friendlies are set to herald a host of reunions, with former manager Darren Perrin bringing his Melksham Town side to Hardenhuish Park tonight (kick-off 7.30pm) and Collier’s men travelling to Mangotsfield United, who include the likes of ex- Chippenham players Josh Dempsey, Shaun Lamb, Alex Kite, Ashley Williams and Josh Egan amongst their ranks, on Saturday.

“We’ve got two friendlies to go before the proper stuff starts and if we perform like we did (on Saturday), we’ll be on the way to being more competitive than we were last season,” said Collier.

“I would expect both of those teams to do particularly well in their own divisions so they’ll be difficult games.

“Us being the main team and them being the underdogs is something that we’ll have to deal with but we’re comfortable with that.

“What we’ll look to get out of them is more minutes in the bank, more fitness and more work on our shape. We haven’t worked on set-pieces much yet and that’s something we’ll do in the last week of training.

“We’ll continue to get the little bits together so that when the big start comes, we’re ready.

“I know that people need to get minutes but we will change it around (today) and change it around again on Saturday.

“I’ve got seven or eight players that will start the first league game in my mind now, all being well.”

Alan Griffin’s first-half penalty was enough for Chippenham to see off Oxford on Saturday, with the striker firing home from the spot after being chopped down in the area by former Bluebirds loanee Mark Scott.

Luke Ballinger went close to scoring a second for the hosts whilst City’s Jose La Pogue and Xabi Hernandez both drew fine saves from Chippenham keeper Kent Kauppinen with superb long-range efforts.

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