MARK Collier thinks that a sizeable squad could be the key to Chippenham Town carving out a successful campaign in the Southern League Premier Division.

The Bluebirds boss is hoping to have boosted the scope of his team to 23 players in time for Saturday’s season-opener at Biggleswade Town, with former Newtown midfielder Zac Evans awaiting international clearance before putting pen to paper at Hardenhuish Park.

Chippenham have also this week secured the services of former Swindon Town U18s captain Alex Ferguson, who had a loan spell with the Bluebirds last season, and ex-Thatcham Town and Wantage Town forward Ben McCready.

“I’ve said to the players that we’re not going to do anything with 12 or 15 players – it’s going to be about the whole squad and we’ve now got almost 23 in the squad,” said Collier.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition but there’s also the opportunity to play for the reserves (Chippenham Park) when people need to get games.

“Hopefully Zac Evans’ international clearance will come through in time for Saturday. We’ve secured the signature of Alex Ferguson, which is great because a few clubs were after him and, because he was coming back from injury, I don’t even think we saw the best of him when he was on loan with us last season.

“Ben McCready has also signed and he’s a little bit behind the others in terms of fitness but he’s another good option as a forward or wide player.

“The penny has dropped for the players in terms of the new system we want to play but that’s also not set in stone. We’ve had some good performances in pre-season but the proof in the pudding will be Saturday’s match.”

Collier is set to be without injured striker Alan Griffin and the suspended James Guthrie for the first few games of the new campaign.

The Chippenham chief said: “Alan Griffin injured his quad muscle against Mangotsfield last weekend and it looks like he’ll be out for two to three weeks. James Guthrie has a three-match suspension from last season because he accumulated something like 16 yellow cards.

“It’s a blow losing your top-scorer and also one of the standout performers from last year in Guthrie.”