MARK Collier became Chippenham Town’s third manager of the season last night.

The former Swindon Supermarine boss was handed the reins at Hardenhuish Park, less than a week after the sacking of previous incumbent Steve Winter, after the Bluebirds board met to complete the formality of rubber-stamping his appointment.

Collier, 54, was holidaying in Egypt last week when news of Winter’s axeing broke – ironically as the former manager was taking a break in the same country – and was quickly identified as the man the club wanted to take over.

Heavily in the running for the job in September, before the Bluebirds eventually opted for Winter to succeed Nathan Rudge, Collier arrived back in the country on Monday. He and former Swindon Town midfielder Tom Jones met at length with Town chairman Neil Blackmore on Tuesday.

With Jones set to arrive at Hardenhuish Park as assistant, the duo’s first match in charge will be Saturday’s tough Calor League Southern Premier Division home appointment with third-placed Cambridge City (3pm).

Collier told the Gazette & Herald: “Myself and Tom Jones, my assistant, are overjoyed because it’s a club with a huge amount of potential.

“Invariably, these opportunities come up when clubs are struggling but that’s the way it is.

“Obviously, we’re inheriting a squad that’s low on confidence and the first aim is put a few smiles back on faces and get people enjoying their football.

“There are going to be a few difficult conversations over the next few months but we want to try and push up the league as soon as we can.”

The Bluebirds urgently need a boost after slipping to their fifth consecutive league defeat at Redditch United on Monday, where they lost 3-0.

Town, who had Blackmore and kit man Tony Godwin in the dugout on Monday, have shipped 23 league goals in that spell and are fourth-bottom.

Collier arrives with a good CV.

His first spell in charge at Supermarine was from 2003 until 2010, where he guided the club up to the Southern Premier in 2006/07 via a 2-0 play-off final win over Taunton.

In the 2008/09 season he oversaw Marine’s run to the third round of the FA Trophy, where they lost 2-0 at Ebbsfleet.

Having quit in May 2010, he returned within a matter of months and took the South Marston side to the second round of the FA Cup where they lost 1-0 at Colchester – the club’s best ever run in the competition.

“I left my phone at home while I was on holiday but my partner got texts to say that Chippenham had lost 9-0 and then the manager had been sacked,” said Collier, who will take his first training session as Bluebirds boss tonight.

“We then had a call from the club to talk about the job. I was disappointed not to get the nod the last time but I respected the chairman’s decision to show faith in Steve Winter.”

Bluebirds striker Lee Phillips, who along with fellow senior frontman Alan Griffin, took charge of the squad for the FA Trophy defeat at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday and Monday’s reverse at Redditch, welcomed Collier’s arrival.

“I think I played against him a few times when he was a Supermarine and I was at Bath,’’ said Phillips.

“I’ve heard good things about him and I’m sure that the club will make the right appointment so hopefully he help us move forward.’’

Town officially announced Collier’s appointment following the conclusion of last night’s board meeting, chairman Blackmore recommending the move to his fellow board members.