CHIPPENHAM Town manager Gary Horgan said his side will truly begin taking shape in the next week or two as the club reaches the half-way mark of its pre-season programme.

The Bluebirds have been back in training since the end of June and have recently completed their first friendly fixture ahead of the upcoming National League South campaign. Otis Lewis netted the only goal as Chippenham beat Yate Town 1-0 on Monday.

Ahead of further away games against Cribbs and Hungerford Town at the weekend, Chippenham’s boss said the club’s training programme has gone well so far and his new group are improving with each passing session.

Looking ahead to the next week, Horgan said: “We’ve been back nearly three weeks, and we’ve got a double-header this weekend. We’ve got Cribbs on Friday night, and then we travel to Hungerford Town on the Saturday.

“It will be two different XIs for both games, and there will be a handful of younger lads in both squads to get a real look at them and give them an idea of the test they could face.

“We’ll look to implement some of our ideas then, but the real crux of it will start next Tuesday when we go away to Supermarine.

“On the Tuesday, we’ll start to shape what we’ll look and feel like on August 5.”

While the likes of Spencer Hamilton, Joe Hanks, and Luke Russe have all departed, the latest name to confirm his return for next season is experienced defender, Eddie Jones.

The 32-year-old will add some much-needed familiarity to a new-look Bluebirds group after extending his second spell in north-west Wiltshire.

Although Jones will have some credit in the bank with fans after a long period of strong displays, manager Horgan stated that every face in his squad will be given an equal chance to impress before he starts pencilling down names to take on Aveley on Saturday, August 5.

Horgan said: “Everybody starts with a clean slate because we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward.

“Some of the ideas we’re using are completely different, some of the players we’re using are completely different – not in terms of their capabilities, but their strengths and weaknesses can be at different ends of the football spectrum.

“Everybody comes in with a fresh slate because we pick our sides and squads throughout the season on merit and not necessarily on reputation.

“I think we’ve proved that over the past couple of years with some of our academy lads getting the chance. If they’re good enough and they perform, they play, it’s as simple as that.”