CHIPPENHAM Town manager Gary Horgan highlighted the important of organising friendlies against professional clubs so that the Bluebirds can enhance their squad with promising loan signings.

Chippenham announced a pre-season clash with Championship side Bristol City recently – set for Tuesday, July 19 – adding to games against Bristol Rovers and Cardiff City Under-23s before the National League South campaign gets underway in early August.

The Bluebirds boss hopes that these fixtures will show both sides what the other can offer, and consequently a deal may be struck to send a player with a need for some experience to the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium.

Discussing the upcoming home game against the Robins as well as the general idea behind friendlies against professional opposition, Horgan said: “We try to work with our local clubs in terms of getting what we would probably call ‘prestige friendlies’ in the books.

“Admittedly, it will probably be a combination of their Under-18s and Under-23s rather than their whole first team. But obviously we want to harness those relationships from last year, and it’s a good opportunity for us to take a look at some of the players we might be able to get in and help us.

“Not just Bristol City but Bristol Rovers and Cardiff City as well, and obviously it helps those clubs develop their players as well.

“It’s a really good opportunity for both and hopefully we can help each other out like we did to great effect last year.”

Chippenham’s pre-season fixture list does not get underway until Wednesday, July 6, when a trip to Highworth Town precedes the side’s midweek clash with Bristol Rovers six days later.

But the training and testing aspect for the Bluebirds squad began in earnest this week following a slightly longer break due to the heroic end of season play-off campaign.

Horgan says he is completely confident he and his coaching staff have put together the right kind of sessions and number of quality games to get Chippenham prepared for another crack at the top-seven this season.

Describing the kind of pre-season Horgan has planned for his team, the Bluebirds manager said: “We try and work quite closely with our sport science guy and our conditioning coaches will work with the squad too.

“It’s not endless running round the field, but we will work with the boys to condition their bodies properly.

“It will be a bit of everything, it certainly won’t be easy because we want to be properly prepared.

“But that will involve an equal mix of some good-old fashioned hard work and some ball-work as well.”