A SEVEN-DAY working week, hours of DVD analysis and monitoring income across several platforms – not something you would perhaps associate with non-league football.

But ahead of Chippenham Town’s home tie against relegation-threatened Hungerford Town this weekend, manager Mark Collier has revealed the ‘full-time’ commitment required by semi-professional managers in National League South.

The Bluebirds were comfortably promoted into non-league’s second tier when topping the Southern Premier Division table by 11 points in the 2016-17 campaign.

A successful fight against relegation followed last season before commitment off the pitch from Collier, his management team and a host of volunteers has allowed the Hardenhuish Park club to climb to 11th in the table with 30 games played this term.

Such is the improvement in quality across the country, Collier revealed management in non-league football isn’t the part-time presumption that general football followers might believe.

He said: “I work for the football club seven days a week, there is no time off.

“We train on Tuesdays and Thursdays – that’s all evening taken up from 6pm until midnight.

“All day Saturday is taken up, and so is Sunday by phone calls.

“We have to sort scouting matches, myself and Gary Horgan (head coach) watch lots of DVDs of opposition teams so we are prepared. It is almost a full-time job.”

Former Football League teams including Southport, York City and Torquay United now make up some of the 44 teams fighting for promotion to the National League – a division Collier believes has replaced the old Division Four (now League Two).

Planning and preparation will often run late into the night for the former Swindon Supermarine boss, who accepts football management has to become part of his lifestyle.

He added: “The Conference North and South are two very strong and competitive leagues.

“There are some huge clubs outside of those two divisions. But once you’re in them, it’s very difficult to get out.

“You only have to look at the quality of clubs in both divisions – good-sized former Football League teams – to understand that.

“There are full-time clubs now in the Conference North and South. And I’ve gone on record before to say it’s the top tier of non-league football, in my opinion.

“The Conference National is full-time, and I see that as the old Division Four.

“You can’t take any chances if you want to be competitive in this division. You have to turn up week in week out.

“Planning and preparation must be spot on, and you have to be ready for any eventuality.

“There are experienced managers in the division, and for us to be a part of that is fantastic.”